Strategic Planning Committee


December 2021 update

The Visioning Action Committee was a committee dedicated to talking to members to distill how we describe the heart and soul of BE to ourselves and to others; to create a vision statement and present it to the board. That group conducted a survey, individual conversations, and focus groups so that every Beth El member who wanted a chance to participate had a way to do so. The following statement was presented to the board and adopted.

Congregation Beth El is joyful, participatory Judaism. We sing, learn, laugh, and pray together, and celebrate our varied backgrounds, identities, and experiences. We connect with Jewish values and traditions as we strive to create a more just future for ourselves, our children, and our world.

Once the statement was adopted, the work was done and the committee disbanded. It is no longer active, but a few of the members were asked to join the Strategic Planning Committee. The Strategic Planning Committee is made up of the following people: Sarah Green Vaswani, co-chair Matt Shedd, co-chair Jocylyn Bailin, Fern Chertok, Andy Goldberg, Ann Barysh, Lisa Breit, Lizza Sandoe, and Barbara Miller. Rabbi Breindel and Jim Billings are advisory members.

Our task is to figure out how to make the vision of Beth El (joyful, participatory, and thriving) a reality, to create a plan, and to work directly with the board to enact the plan. We need to tease out the greatest needs Beth El has and form a plan to fill those needs, based on research, data, and feedback. Some of our needs are obvious (more members so we can share the joy), some are less obvious. We are very early in this process and no plan yet exists.

One obvious need is the need for a comprehensive PR plan. We have not yet determined how we will create that plan, or what tools will be needed to do so. Facebook has become an integral part of how people communicate, for better or worse, and we will have to make decisions about how/if it will be included in the strategy. How will we balance our need to grow and share the awesomeness that is Beth El with a wider audience, with our desire to always behave ethically? Our intention is always to be transparent about what we’re doing and to always listen to what the congregation has to say. To those ends, we will be in regular communication via congregational emails. We may also need to do another survey; please participate if we do. We have set up an email address so that you can always get in touch with us: It will be checked every few days, so please be patient.