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October 20, 2014 | 26th Tishrei 5775

2007 Epstein Communicate Award Recipients

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.
Resources: www.thetempleokc.org; touchpoint presentation; 

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 diagnoses.

Honorable Mentions were presented for the following programs:

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 opportunities.

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.

Project Home Again Temple Emanuel, Andover, MA
Summary number 2449
Project Home Again's mission is to provide people in the community with the basic comforts of home they could otherwise not afford.
Resources: program flyer; client in-take sheet; donation in-take sheet; sample federation presentation; weekly pickup form; winter program flyer; Project Home Again website

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

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