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October 13, 2015 | 30th Tishrei 5776

Special Financial Edition of Union News: Oct 28, 2008

October 28, 2008 29 Tishrei 5769


Nov 12 webinars
Helping your
Help for your
Helping others

Dear Friends,


As financial issues continue to affect the world's economy, we recognize that, particularly in some communities, it likely will have far reaching implications for congregations and their members. And so, as families do during difficult times, the Union for Reform Judaism is reaching out to remind you that, as always, we are available to provide resources and assistance to support your congregation and members during these difficult times.

The Union is a "congregation of congregations," and so the issues that your congregation are facing are also facing the Union. Key staff and lay leaders are currently looking at projections for the current and next fiscal years, working to assess the impact of the economy on the Union's budget, and to create responses based on those assessments.

We are also aware that the current economic situation will impact our members, the congregations of the Union. Our challenge, as is yours, is to maintain service to our constituents and stay true to our mission while adjusting to the current economic realities. Please remember that your regional MUM representative is always available to talk with you.

To help through these times, we will be holding two webinars on “Strengthening Your Congregation and Helping congregants in Difficult Financial Times” on Wednesday, November 12. (See below for the call times and specifics). We’ve also added to the resources that we distributed in September. On our Leadership web site you will find resources to help the congregation as well as suggestions on what you can do to help your members. Some of the highlights are listed below, and we hope you will share with us what you are doing by sending ideas to us at

Our tradition tells us that all Jews are responsible for one another. This year, more than ever, we hope our members will find the support they need in their synagogue community.


Peter Weidhorn
Peter Weidhorn
Rabbi Eric Yoffie
Rabbi Eric Yoffie

Help in these Economic Times

November 12 Webinars
Rabbi Stacy Offner, vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism, will host the calls with our presenters, Ed Alpert, executive director of Am Shalom in Glencoe, IL and president of the National Association of Temple Administrators, and Rabbi Edythe Mencher LCSW, associate director of the Department of Jewish Family Concerns. The calls will be on Wednesday, November 12. The first call will be tailored to congregations with budgets below $650,000, and the second will be directed to congregations with budgets above $650,000. Please feel free to register for either call according to your schedule.

To RSVP for the call and check to see that you will be able to view the presentation, please register at

To make the calls as informative as possible, please send your questions in advance to Paula Desrochers-Yakout at by Monday, November 10.

Helping Your Members  
As Rabbi Edythe Mencher and Dale Glasser write in “Resilient Congregations and Organizations,” it is important that congregations respond to their members in ways that encourage a sense of hopefulness, calm and direction." We’ve gathered from Union departments and from congregations suggestions on ways to assist your members. These include

The and other ideas are available online. If you’ve got programs that you’ve started, share them with others by sending a note to

Help for Your Congregation  
As the impact of the current economic situation becomes clearer, congregations should be reaching out to their members to remind them of the synagogue's core values and their part in the community. At the same time, congregations will want review their budget projections and make certain their finances are in order while also working to help alleviate poverty and homelessness in the community at large.

To help, we've posted resources online that we think will be helpful, including

  • Money Matters: Compassionate Guidelines for Talking Dues
  • Program Guides, lesson plans and other items related to issues of social justice
  • A Guide to endowments, investments and synagogue funds 

Membership Issues
It’s also important at this time to make sure you are doing all you can to attract, integrate and retain members. One the best investments you can make: send your membership chair or professional to the intensive four-day Rabbi Alexander Schindler Membership Fellows Program in Cleveland March 12-15. They will return with sure-fire ways to improve the recruitment, retention and integration of members in your congregation.

Also consider signing up for a grant to host Taste of Judaism: Are You Curious? In your community. And if you’ve got an outstanding program to welcome and integrate those new to Judaism, submit an application for a Belin Award.

Helping Others
While we worry about how the economic problems will affect our congregations and their members, let’s not forget how helping others in our community and across the globe.

Social Action in Action
Gathered on a single web page for your convenience, you’ll find information about fighting hunger, economic justice, housing and homelessness and health care. There are lesson plans for your school, Jewish texts and resources, fact sheets and more.

Malaria Bites. Bite Back!
Grants are now available to help your congregation plan a Nothing But Nets fundraiser or advocacy event to purchase insecticide-treated bed nets to reduce the transmission of malaria. Visit the Union’s Nothing But Nets site to apply for a grant, download programmatic resources and toolkits or to order brochures, Bar/Bat Mitzvah guides and t-shirts.

Be a Voice for Darfur: A Postcard Campaign
Activism has been critical in focusing the world's attention on the genocide in Darfur. Join millions around the country in sending postcards to the next president urging him to make Darfur a priority. Order free postcards by contacting Micaela Hellman-Tincher.


You are receiving this monthly message because you are listed in our North American database as a lay or professional leader in your congregation, a member of the North American Board of Trustees or a Regional Council, or you have signed up for this list. If our information is incorrect, or if you do not want to receive notices about programs that may be appropriate for your congregation, please send a note to Emily Grotta, director of Marketing & Communications. Thank you for your assistance.


Department of
Marketing & Communications 212.650.4221

Union for Reform Judaism

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