In early April 2020, we communicated the replacement of the Ambassadors group with the Joint Executive Committee (JEC) in the work of moving forward with a new combined congregation. The JEC is comprised of each synagogue’s Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and includes clergy and administration representation. This committee has been meeting regularly to work on the action items set out in the Memorandum of Understanding. We are developing the processes to allow for the greatest amount of participation from our congregants and for everyone to share in this journey.

Our congregations have begun the process to create a combined religious school for this coming Fall 2020. A renewed Religious School Task force, as approved by each synagogue’s Board of Directors, is working closely with Rina Liebeskind, Religious School Director, the Joint Finance Task Force and our clergy to prepare the school for this fall.

Rabbi David Wolfman, consultant, has been working with lay leadership, clergy and staff of both synagogues to begin his understanding of our congregations. While Or Chadash’s Rabbi Louchheim and Temple Emanu-El’s Interim Rabbi Saulson will support their congregation during this next year, Rabbi Wolfman will support the JEC in understanding how to implement a successful transition of the change to a new combined congregation. We want to thank Arizona Together for Impact for approving our grant application and allowing us to be part of a statewide initiative to improve the capacity and financial health of nonprofits in our communities. This grant will offset the majority of the costs of our consultant and alleviate a financial burden on our congregations.

In our next article, we will review our action items, timeline and ways for you to participate in this pivotal time in our congregations.

Beverly Sandock, Congregation Or Chadash
Mona L Gibson, Temple Emanu-El