I hope by now everyone reading this column is aware of our special Congregational Conversation 2017, which we will hold this Sunday, March 5th, in the Social Hall. The main purposes of this Conversation are to hear your thoughts and views on the present and the future of TBT, and to discuss how we are planning to get there with your help. We are capitalizing on this special moment in our synagogue’s history to take stock of our mission and our edifice and how they may need to be updated to continue to serve us.
While it may be easier to see why we need to update our building, it may be a little more challenging to consider why we may need to update our mission - aren’t we still Jews? Don’t we want to continue to pray, learn, and get together for activities? We’re not suddenly going to decide not to have services or religious school any longer, are we? Do we even need a mission statement?
I feel, of course, that yes, we do. Over the last forty years, even the last ten or twenty years, our lives have changed. And that pace of change is accelerating exponentially. A guiding statement should speak about our core values RIGHT now, the goals we share, and should help serve as a template for how we make our decisions about TBT. It should speak to our hearts about what moves us.
You may find our existing mission statement through our website at www.tbtshoreline.org. I believe it describes many of the things that we do at TBT and will continue to do at TBT; but I don’t think it really captures the real HEART of what makes TBT special, what binds us together as a community, why we continue to return. And personally, I believe it describes a one-way relationship: what TBT will "provide," as if there is a separation between TBT and our congregants. It may be a subtle shift in perspective, but I’d prefer to think about what we can create together, rather than what the synagogue will provide to me, and I think that slight re-interpretation has dramatic repercussions on how we engage here, whether we are passive recipients of TBT life, or active shapers of our community together.
Whether you agree or disagree with my opinion, I am only one opinion. So please come and argue your views with me and with your fellow congregants, and we will supply the bagels and coffee to fuel the conversation.