The Ambassadors created eight task forces to actively envision what a merger of our congregations would look like, identify any hurdles that would conflict with this future, and provide possible solutions to these issues. Six of these task forces will be reporting to our congregations during November and early December in order for the members of both congregations to hear first-hand their findings from these groups. The Communications and Collaborative Efforts task forces will not be reporting as they are already actively working to ensure that our congregants are aware of our processes and have opportunities to meet/work with each other during this time period.

Our first Town Hall meeting to roll out two of our Task Force reports was held on Sunday, November 3, 2019. As promised, these first reports from the Finance and Governance Task Forces were emailed to our members and are available above. The meetings at each synagogue were well attended, and we thank you all for your continued interest and fabulous questions.

The representatives of our Finance Task Force, Gary Kippur at Or Chadash, and Jeff Rein at Temple Emanu-El reviewed a spreadsheet of our congregations’ combined budgets and projections for the future. Our current budgets demonstrate the financial difficulties that we both have in having enough revenue from dues, fees, and donations to support our personnel, facilities, administration, and operations. Continuation on our current paths will ensure decreased programming, pay cuts, and loss of membership. A future together enhances our combined efforts to offer Reform Judaism in southern Arizona in a fiscally responsible manner. The projected budget supports the belief that together we can ensure that our mission continues beyond our generation.

Harriet Kronman of Or Chadash represented the Governance Task Force and used a PowerPoint presentation to review the issues addressed by this group. A careful review of the bylaws of each congregation showed some differences, but enough similarities to make a combined document easily attainable. The greatest issue to be handled is the creation of a new Board of Directors to be effective at the time of the new merged congregation. A proposed timeline was created in order for the task force participants to figure out a process by which to create the new Board. To resolve this issue, the task force proposed each congregation’s Nominating Committee as developed by their usual process to combine forces in the transition period and work out the slate of Officers and Directors to present for a vote to our congregants. New task forces would need to be created to address the new congregation’s name, Articles of Incorporation, and Bylaws.

The schedule of upcoming Town Hall meetings is provided below. At these meetings, our goal is to continue to review and discuss each new report. Our congregants will have opportunities to learn more about each topic and to be fully informed before any vote is taken. We will publish meeting reminders via our weekly email communications, and we’ll post the schedule on our websites.

11/17/2019 – Religious School and Facilities
12/08/2019 – Worship and Clergy

These Town Hall meetings will be from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Or Chadash and 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El. Members of each task force will attend the meetings to review and discuss their findings.

Thank you for the commitment and passion that you bring to this conversation. And please feel free to share your thoughts and comments by writing to our shared email account at JewishTucson@gmail.com.