Etz Chayim Board
Minutes for 2012/13 Board Retreat on July 1, 2012
Board: Celia Aufdemberge, James Baloun, Lisa Bernard, Evan Goer, JoAnne Goldberg, Wynn
Hausser, Bart Hechtman, Alan Kushnir, Jason Matlof, Marc Rossner, Art Sklaroff, Karl Sonkin,
Staff: Rabbi Ari Cartun, Ellen Bob, Melissa Rogoway
1) Welcome: Preeva welcomed the 2012/13 Board and introductions were made.
2) Ice Breaker Exercise: Preeva asked us to share our Jewish names and some information
about our family heritage. We determined that we all had our roots from Ashkenazi Jews in
3) D’Var Torah was delivered by Ari
4) Agenda Review and Ground Rules: Preeva reviewed the agenda and there were no
requests for additions or changes. Preeva discussed some ground rules for the day.
Various people would act as facilitators, Celia would be scribe, and Evan volunteered to be
5) Strategic Planning: Wynn presented an overview of Strategic Planning and the process
that will be started at Etz.
a) Strategic Planning definitions and overview–
i) Not looking to create a big document and put on shelf; but rather looking to create a
document that is visionary, participatory, assumption testing, transformational.
b) Area of focus:
iii) Community (internal, external, within Jewish world, social action)
iv) Operations and support structure (not day to day operations)
i) Shared vision throughout congregation – who we are, where we are and where we
ii) Multiple opportunities for engagement – every member who wants to should be able
to engage in this process.
iii) Foundation for rabbinic search – plan for what we are going to look for in a new
rabbi, using our vision for the future.
iv) Priorities/actions for next 12 months:
(1) Energize community and leadership; increase community connections
d) Consultant – will need someone from outside to keep momentum and to guide process.
e) Timeline – 9 to12 months starting at HHDs; potentially completed by annual meeting in
f) Structure – 3 levels: steering committee, task force, congregation
g) Our task today –
i) divide into 4 groups
ii) Create a vision of what success would look in the next 5 to 10 years..
iii) Each group will present:
(1) What is our vision?
(2) What would the ‘headline’ be?
h) Group Presentations – need to transfer notes from flip charts.
6) Rabbi’s sabbatical was discussed. It will take place May thru July 2013.
a) Board agreed that his proposal should be approved as written this time.
b) However, in future contract’s, we should consider the meaning of ‘contributes value to
congregation and rabbi’ by creating some criteria for determining value.
c) We need to address recruiting a Rabbi who will substitute for Ari during his sabbatical;
Ilana G-G may be a possibility. Ellen will speak to Ilana about her interest.
7) Rabbi’s retirement in 2015 was briefly discussed. Will take place in June 2015. We will need
to start determining how the search process will be conducted, when we need to begin, and
what the new rabbi’s transition period might look like.
8) Education Program Initiatives and Goals for 2012-13 were reviewed by Melissa Rogoway.
a) We want to be the best school we can be by individualizing for students as needed.
b) Melissa is participating in Darim , an education resource offered thru the Bureau of
c) Use technology to achieve our goals and not just for technology’s sake.
d) Looking into technology and programs for deepening the learning and family’s
participation in education which will aid in retention.
e) Use QR codes, Skype, and class blogs for getting Jewish Educational programs and
class curriculum into the home.
f) Get our families to know each other better – slice religious school families by geography
rather than by grade level of children for special school activities and/or chavurot.
g) Our religious school families have a strong presence in Palo Alto; a good presence in
Cupertino, SunnyVale and San Jose; and less presence from Belmont to Menlo Park.
h) Melissa asked for the board to support and reinforce these programs by discussing with
and asking members to participate in religious school and its activities.
i) Bart Hechtman commented that he would like to see more outreach events for our
religious school; Saturday events during the summer for religious school families and
recruitment of nonmembers ; We should participate in fairs, especially at preschools.
Bart asked Melissa to participate in events, including some focus at Hausner, and
report on results at annual meeting with some measurable results.
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9) Finance Goals presented by Art Sklaroff.
a) Board needs to understand:
i) The highest income months are June/July when members are paying membership
for new fiscal year.
ii) We have a spike in income near high holy days due to HHD guests.
iii) Committee chairs need to request funds in February at budget time to avoid
unexpected and unbudgeted expenses throughout the year.
(1) Chairs need to look at allocations section of budget to find out if the committee
has a budget. Board liaisons can provide that information to committee chairs.
10) L’Etz Participate program and flyer presented by Bart Hechtman.
a) Bart talked about his initiative to get everyone to participate in at least one new event or
activity in the new year. He will do a presentation at the HHDs, announcing this initiative
and a flyer will be distributed to all adult members to use to select a new activity.
b) In next year’s renewal packet, there will be a form for members to volunteer to
participate in at least one event or activity. There will be an option for members to opt
out from participating in this initiative.
c) The board brainstormed about how to present this package during the high holy days.
(1) emphasizing the importance of strengthening connections at Etz;
(2) Encourage members to try one new thing;
(3) A flyer listing all events, tasks, and opportunities for volunteering;
(4) Have members indicate special skills that they have and would like to use at Etz.
11) Committee and Social Group Chair people joined the meeting and each gave a brief report
of their activities and plans for 2012-13:
a) Dahlia Blech – Israeli Singing – meets 2 times per month at her home; about 12 people;
teach Israeli songs; their goal is to eventually sponsor a singing event and as an Etz
b) Ken Bauer – Marketing is going to become a one man show- him; His goals are to use
Google analytics for our website to create a dashboard; use Twitter to create a following;
use channels to push people toward our website and he will look into Google’s pay by
c) Paula Elster – Design committee co chair with Bart Hechtman. Meets 5-6 times per year.
This year the committees’ goals are to:
i) create a long range landscaping plan and will select native plants as well as plants
which can be used for the Sukkah, will start in front area facing parking lot;
ii) Continue improvements of the lobby and entry area;
iii) Install better lighting and handrail on the wall between the sanctuary and kitchen;
iv) Create new signage for congregation at entrance.
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Margaret Golden – Adult Education:
v) Classes are led by members of our congregational family;
vi) We will continue to offer classes which were successful last year.
vii) Looking for new suggestions but a major consideration will be the likeliness of
viii) Ari will do another Adult Bart program but other members not in the Bart class can
take some of the classes;
ix) Current adult education programs planned for 2012-13 include Torah study,
conversational Hebrew, Hanoch’s discussion forum, People of the Book, and a film
group. Danny Matt will speak about G0d and the Big Bang Theory in September.
d) Karen Bergen – High Holy Days:
i) 20 people committee with most activity chairs having co-chairs there is a natural
successor in place;
ii) Still need Yom Kippur break-the-fast chair, publicity co-chair, and HHD co-chair.
iii) 2 main complaints from last year were temperature control and chair; both of which
have been solved; there will be a musical chairs game at 5th Friday service on
August 31st to raise funds for the more expensive comfortable chairs.
iv) Beautification of room is a priority– group will be looking at room next Monday – send
Karen any ideas;
v) The 2 podiums and reading desk will be covered in white permanently by
Handworkers committee (Jessica Bernhardt) which will only be used for HHDs;
vi) On RH morning, there will be a special program for parents and their children
between 2 to 7 year olds with Treasure Cohen and her husband;
vii) HHD mailing going out in mid-July;
e) Judy Rattner – Capital Campaign Committee, the deepening of our roots;
i) goal is to raise $1.5 m by YK 2013.
ii) Right now is the quiet phase during which certain members and the board have been
targeted - $200K has been committed thus far
iii) feedback received during solicitations include a lack of connection, feeling that the
primary concern is about the building, not people, members are falling off after bart
years; but also told they love Etz, and are happy we are unaffiliated and do things
f) Eric Savitz – Mens Group is a social group for the men to socialize; e.g., going to
movies; playing cards; bike rides; hikes; service components , putting up and taking
down Sukkah each year; same group of 10-12 men tend to show up but the group is a
good way to connect.
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12) The Board introduced themselves and indicated their committee and other responsibilities:
a) Marc Rossner – Religious Practices Committee
b) Lisa Bernard – Mishlach Manot fundraiser
c) James Baloun – Emergency Preparedness and Facilities Committee
d) Alan Kushnir – Finance Committee
e) Melissa Rogoway – Youth Ed – Aviv will do Immun, Brotherhood group will start.
f) Wynn Hausser – Rabbinical Resource committee; Strategic Planning Committee
g) Celia Aufdemberge – HHD booklet, Sponsor A Siddur, Membership Initiative Project
h) Art Sklaroff – Treasurer, Finance Committee
i) Jason Matlof – Facility Energy; Social Action – Breaking Bread
j) Evan Goer – Festivals committee
k) Bart Hechtman– Design Committee
13) How we do events at Etz? Ellen Bob gave us instructions:
a) Contact Lea for room reservation and to put on Congregation’s calendar
b) Contact Ellen if it is a bigger event or needs President’s (Preeva) approval
c) Put in e-bulletin (deadline is noon on Wednesdays) and Connections (deadline on 18 or
19th of month by 5 p.m.)
d) Put your own thoughts on Facebook wall; contact Ellen to set up a Facebook event.
e) Contact Ellen to put something on website or you can update it yourself.
14) The Board thanked Preeva for hosting the retreat.
15) Meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted by
August 28, 2012
Summary of Upcoming Events and Decisions and Follow up Items from Meeting:
Next Executive Committee meeting is Wednesday, August 22, 7:30pm at Preeva’s house.
Next Board meeting is Sunday, September 9 at 7 pm in Library.
Wynn will email next steps for strategic planning process.
Look for candidates for Committee chairs still needed for HHDs, Membership, Fundraising.
Board approved Ari’s sabbatical for May thru July 2013.
Bart will present the L’Etz Participate Try One New Thing initiative on Erev RH.
Support HHD Chair fundraiser at August 31st Fifth Friday service.
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