“Governance Community of Practice:” August thoughts From TBSOC President Mitch Cohen

I’m nearly a week back from vacation (faculty at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, 7/20-7/28) so I thought I’d provide some thoughts before we reach September.  Allow me to look back, before I look forward.

Matthew Griffin, VP of Education, & I made plans months ago to visit my Aunt & Uncle in Pebble Beach, staying Friday night, 7/12, before attending the Superbike races at Laguna Seca.  Unfortunately, my Uncle passed-away on 6/29 & the funeral was 7/3 in New Jersey. My aunt insisted that we not change our plans. I was a little surprised that she wanted to join us for services at her synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel in Carmel as she hasn’t been going out much.  The welcome & warmth of the congregation, along with the beautiful service provided by Rabbi Bruce Greenbaum & Cantor Alisa Fineman, provided so much comfort to my Aunt. Rabbie Greenbaum knew our Rabbi Heidi when she was a teenager in Colorado, but we didn’t have time to hear any embarrassing stories.

During today’s torah study, 8/3, Barry Leshowitz started by discussing our prayers.  The fact that we’ve been saying the same prayers, generation after generation, millennia after millennia, provides great comfort.  I witnessed that sitting next to my aunt on 7/12. She had been alone in her home until Matthew & I arrived on our motorcycles. We went to synagogue & she was surrounded by good friends & some strangers, but we were all together, reciting prayers & welcoming the Shabbat.  I know that provided her great comfort.

Now back to the future.  #TBSOC has been selected to be 1 of 10 synagogues that will be participating in a “Governance Community of Practice.”  I may have stacked the deck in our favor by accidentally submitting an application twice, but 873 congregations make up the URJ & we start the class 8/27.  Rabbi Heidi Cohen, Executive Director Ruth Irving, & I have all signed the BRIT (commitment) to actively engage in the class for the benefit of our community.

Our board of directors took part in a great retreat to Hawaii on Sunday, 7/7.  With decorations provided by Bonnie Wenneberg & content provided by Skylar Cohen from the URJ, we explored & discussed many topics:

  • Our own Jewish Journey
  • Rethinking the Role of the Board
  • Responsibilities of Leadership
  • Action Planning
  • URJ Resources

We created small teams to examine areas important to our community:

  • Policies & Procedures
    • Ruth Irving, Ruth Aptaker – Director for Communications, & Michelle Singleton – Director for Social Justice
  • Mission & Vision Statements:
    • Mitch Cohen, Bonnie Wenneberg – Secretary, Scott Singer – VP of Worship, & Rabbi Heidi
  • Goal Setting for the board:
    • Mitch Cohen, Ruth Irving, & Michelle Singleton
  • Programming for families outside of ECC & religious school:
    • Matthew Griffin – VP of Education, Mary Gonzalez – VP of Membership, David Feldberg – Director for Communications, & Ruth Irving.

All of these groups have been meeting face-to-face, sharing content through e-mail & collaborating via a new communications application that Ruth Aptaker implemented, “Slack.”

I’ll be participating in Jewish Community Study at Chapman University at 2pm on 8/21 followed by our board meeting at 7pm.  Presenting to the board will be Wendy Chase, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County.

The gates surrounding our campus are complete.  We’ll begin a small construction project in classes 7 & 8, adding 2 sinks & 2 toilets in each to conform to California preschool standards as our program expands.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to being one of over 150 attendees to Wednesday’s 8/7 Homelessness 101.  Our Tisha B’Av experience will be in Fullerton at Temple Beth Tikvah on 8/10 at 7pm. Our NY-themed Havadalah starts at 4pm on 8/17.

As always, there are many things to do & experience at #TBSOC.   Check the website for the latest information!

Shalom, Mitch

One Response to “Governance Community of Practice:” August thoughts From TBSOC President Mitch Cohen

  1. eileen cohen August 9, 2019 at 1:08 pm #

    you, your board, and the community, should be very successful