Letter from the President: Congregational Meeting

Dear WJC Family,

Tonight at 7:45pm is our annual Congregational meeting, and we have three important items on the agenda:

  • We will vote on the Spiritual Life Committee’s recommendation to enter renewal discussions with Rabbi Arnowitz.
  • We will vote on the slate of trustees and officers for next year. They will start their new roles on June 1st
  • Ian Winters, Financial Vice President will present a budget for the 2023-24 year for review by the membership and approval by the trustees.

Since we’re approving that budget, this is a great opportunity to explore the mechanisms of WJC’s finances. Each year, the Financial Vice President works with David Goldstein, committee chairs and department heads, and gets input from the officers and trustees to prepare the budget, creating a balance between rising costs and our community’s needs.

Many people have the impression that WJC dues cover all our needs, but that is far from the truth. Dues represent only about one-third of the income that makes WJC run. Other big contributors include school tuition and voluntary donations such as the Kol Nidre appeal and the fundraising portions of our upcoming community celebration, Night at the Riviera.

Speaking of celebrations, a great-big thank you to the more than 125 people who have already registered for this year’s Night at the Riviera event on June 11. As you may know, this event has three purposes: to recognize outstanding leadership, to bring the community together and to raise needed funds. It’s exciting that so many will be first-time attendees, and we want to also thank those who have taken out Journal Ads. The tickets help us break-even on the event, but it’s the donations received in the form of journal ads and raffle tickets that powers our programming. Those donations represent 100% of WJC’s discretionary/programming budget.

The programming budget supports the welcome back barbecue, adult education, Holocaust programs, Israel programs, PJ library, Joy Club, the Koslowe Art Gallery, library, long-term member events, social action, spiritual life, teen programs and much more. Dozens of learning and social programs around the year across all categories are free and supported by those very same Journal Ads and raffle tickets.

I mentioned before that budgeting is a balance, attempting to maximize learning, spirituality and community while keeping costs as affordable as possible. Something you may not know about WJC’s budget is that religious school and teen programs are subsidized to make them more affordable to parents, who pay only half of the cost of running these programs. Also, one-in-six of our families require assistance with paying dues.

It’s a challenging balance. More than 75% of our costs are salaries and benefits. Another 10% goes to the maintenance of our buildings. Our professional and lay leadership work tirelessly to reduce infrastructure and administrative costs while maximizing resources devoted to programming and supporting members. A couple of examples:

  • The office, under Beth Weiss-Dunn, is modernizing our bookkeeping and accounting practices, and has already freed up enough costs to permit us to add a new part-time bnai-mitzvah program coordinator.
  • We are removing paper from our processes and lowering the cost of copier rentals
  • Our house committee is always looking to improve energy efficiency and has completed projects including heating system upgrades and LED lighting.
  • Coming soon, the trustees will be presented a proposal to add solar power to the roof of the building. If you’d like to get involved, let Marc Karell know.

Ian and I are happy to answer any budget questions you may have. I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the congregational meeting tonight. I encourage you to register for the Night at the Riviera, and join us for a great evening. And please, please, consider purchasing a journal ad, even if you are already registered.

Thanks to our whole community for all you do for WJC.





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