At the May meeting, the board focused on the various impacts the coronavirus is having on the synagogue. We received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the federal COVID relief package. These funds are to be used for payroll and utilities, and help bridge the cash flow problems that we have every spring, made worse by the pandemic. The Board discussed and approved renting our school buildings to the JCC’s Taglit program for young adults with disabilities over the summer. This arrangement will allow the J to more effectively social distance the participants in their various programs. The President is appointing a COVID-19 Task Force of experts to help guide our decision-making as this situation continues.
About Emily Joseph
Posts by Emily Joseph:
The Board met via Zoom again in April to receive updates in a variety of areas. The pandemic has rendered our financial situation unpredictable. We have applied for relief under the Paycheck Protection Program, but we have not received any funds yet. Mark Ross is continuing to work to expedite the process.
The transition to online religious and Hebrew School has been quite successful, with a high attendance rate. Rina invited the board to attend the end-of-year assembly on May 3. She is also working with a joint committee to prepare for the new, combined religious school this fall.
Our Social Justice and Action Committee has long-standing partnerships with charitable organizations all over Tucson. Today, more people than ever are in need of the support these organizations provide. Because of the pandemic we cannot support our partners with our volunteerism, but we can support them through our donations. Your contribution of any amount will enable our continued mission of Tikkun Olam – making the world a better place.
When public schools closed, they made the transition to online classes. Unfortunately, many students at John B. Wright Elementary school did not have computers at home to access their lessons. Sheree Garcia, a 2nd & 3rd grade teacher at the school, purchased computers and food with her own funds and personally delivered them to students who need them. To help defray her costs, send a check to the John B. Wright PTO at the school address: 4311 E. Linden St., Tucson, AZ 85712, with Sheree Garcia in the memo line.
The board met via Zoom in March due to COVID-19 precautions. The board first reviewed the newly negotiated contracts for the Rabbi and the Cantor, and approved them in executive session. We received reports on the effects of COVID on our community and the measures being taken to mitigate the spread while continuing to serve our congregants in various ways. The proposed 2020-2021 budget was discussed. The Finance Committee projects a shortfall of $82,000 next year, and the board discussed the sources of that deficit and possible ways to remedy them. The budget was approved as presented.
At the February meeting the board reviewed our fundraising efforts, which in combination with the cost-saving change to paperless communication, lead to a break-even projection on the fiscal year. The slate for next year’s board was read into the record. The board got a presentation from Rina Liebeskind and Dr. Abby Limmer, Director of Education at Temple Emanu-El, on plans to merge our religious schools. The board voted to go forward with combining our schools in the fall regardless of the status of the congregational merger. We formally endorsed the passage of the MOU, and received updates on next steps, including applying for grant funds and the process for hiring lawyers and a consultant to assist with the process.