Epstein Communicate Awards and Honorable Mentions were presented at the 2007 North American Biennial Convention.
Every two years Communicate! summaries in several categories are
selected to receive an Epstein Award, recognizing those congregations'
outstanding programming. Award recipients received a $1,000 grant in programming
funds at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial Convention in San Diego, CA, on
December 13, 2007.
Communicate! founders Paddy and Barry Epstein created this grant to
encourage congregants to submit their successful programs and ideas to the
Communicate! resource bank.
Epstein Communicate! Awards were presented for
the following programs:
March Madness Temple Sinai, Oakland, CA (Category: Congregations with
more than 750 households) Summary number 2296 March Madness is a unique opportunity to
enjoy spectacular events at the synagogue while supporting its future.
Congregants and staff host various events and, as their admission fee, members
make donations to the synagogue. Resources: www.templesinaimarchmadness.org;
Temple Touchpoints Temple B'nai Israel, Oklahoma City, OK (Category:
Congregations with 250-750 households) Summary number 2451 We define a touchpoint as
any point of interaction between the synagogue and its members; each touchpoint
is an opportunity to enhance or detract from a member's experience.
Blessing Chuppah Temple Sholom, Monticello, NY (Category:
Congregations with fewer than 250 households) Summary number 2421 Congregants were
invited to decorate a one-foot square of white fabric with a representation of
what the word "blessing" meant to them. The individual squares were sewn
together into a chuppah, which is used regularly during Shabbat services.
Good Will Campaign for Congregational Donors - Can You Ever Say Thank
You Enough? Congregation Shaare Emeth, St Louis, MO (Category: NATA)
Summary number 2330 Every day a congregational staff person calls congregants who have sent a
tribute or contribution to the synagogue. The purpose of the call is to thank
the member for his or her contribution and to solicit any other news, such as a
birth, an address change or a graduation. All information is recorded on a
spreadsheet, and our records remain up to date.
New Friends Group Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
(Category: NATE/ECERJ/PDRJ) Summary number 2492 In conjunction with the Early Childhood
Development Associates, the congregation conducts a weekly social skills group
for preschool-age children. This group facilitates social skills to help
children with social/emotional challenges as well as sensory-integration
Honorable Mentions were presented for the following
Endless Opportunities Temple de Hirsch Sinai, Seattle, WA Summary number 2555 Recognizing that the community did not provide adequate services for healthy
mature adults, our congregation began a program offering an array of free
activities for healthy older Jewish adults. Activities fall into one of three
categories: educational; social and cultural; and mitzvah or volunteer
Merging the Oldest and the Largest Congregations Temple Kol Ami
Emanu-El, Plantation, FL Summary number 2342 The merging of the largest (Temple Kol
Ami, 1,000 households) and the oldest (Temple Emanu-El, seventy-five years old)
congregations in Broward County, Florida, created Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El.
Resources: plan of merger; publicity;
Project Ezra Temple Beth El, Fort Meyers, FL Summary number 2374 The goals
of this program are to give relief in the form of groceries to Israeli families
who are suffering economically during difficult times; to bring awareness to
Americans regarding the Israeli people's economic situation; and to illustrate
to the Israeli people American Jews' commitment to standing beside them.
Where to Take Donations Temple Sinai, Oakland, CA Summary number 2284 As is
often the case, many of our congregants found themselves with items to donate
but without the knowledge of where to donate these items. Our Social Action
Committee compiled a list of places accepting donations and published this list
in our congregation's bulletin. Categories on the list are furniture and
household items; clothing; food; books; school and art supplies; and computers
and cell phones.
Wish Boxes Suburban Temple-Kol Ami, Beachwood, OH Summary number 2445 Families were given art supplies to decorate a box, including stickers with
quotations from Jewish sources and scholars connected to tikkun olam. Every six
weeks a Wish List was sent to each family from a different organization or
agency detailing the items they needed. Each family would fill their box with
the Wish List items, which were then delivered to the organization. After the
deliveries were made, the empty boxes were returned to the families, who would
fill their box with the next month's Wish List items. Resources: Wish lists
from September, October, November, April and May; Making the Boxes;
Homeless to Renter Temple Beth Am, Seattle, WA Summary number 2364 Homeless
to Renter assists families who are currently experiencing homelessness or are
living in transitional housing to move into their own apartment. The program
provides the security deposit and/or other move-in expenses and shares any
refund due at the end of the tenancy on a 50/50 basis with the tenant. Our share
of the refund is recycled to help new applicants. Resources: summary of the program; brochure; benefit invitation; Ten-Year Plan;