Update on WJC’s Strategic Planning Journey

Dear Congregation,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to share an update on our strategic planning journey since the High Holidays, as well as what we’ve learned so far from this important process and some immediate next steps, including opportunities for members to get involved. First, I would like to extend my gratitude to all of you who participated in the Community Conversations, and took the time to fill out the congregation-wide survey. We had many more survey responses than we even hoped for, underscoring our community’s dedication to WJC and its continued improvement. Your input has been invaluable in shaping the direction of our strategic planning effort and I am proud to see such strong engagement and commitment from our members.

Many of you shared your enthusiasm for our High Holiday experience, our social programming, and our contemporary services. Members also expressed feeling welcomed at services and synagogue events, a strong connection to our clergy, and that they have found and nurtured close friendships here at WJC.  These responses are a testament to the dedication of our community and of the hard work of the many volunteers and professionals who make this place run. Our goal is to continue building on our strengths and create a community that is even more inclusive, engaging, and welcoming to all.

You also identified areas where we could work harder—as well as differently or more strategically—and I’d like to expressly invite you to join us in addressing those issues. Specifically, we will be forming task forces that examine those areas and that will then propose important initiatives in response.

The themes that emerged from the data include:

  • Engagement and Welcoming – Ensuring that everyone who walks into WJC feels welcomed and included, maintaining that feeling at all stages of life and growth, and facilitating a strong sense of community
  • Spiritual Life – Evolving our services to meet the needs of congregants at different levels of knowledge and experience, fostering participation and ruach (energy, spirit, or breath in Hebrew), and supporting a sense of inclusion
  • Inclusion – Curating a sense of belonging for all members of the community, and especially for interfaith families and for all members regardless of their financial situation
  • Young Families/Early Childhood Center (ECC) – Identifying opportunities for more connection between ECC/ young families and the rest of our community
  • Religious School & Bar/Bat mitzvah prep /Teen Engagement – Identifying priorities and opportunities for the religious school program, b’nai mitzvah preparation and engagement for teens that helps to grow and nurture a love of Judaism
  • Leadership/Volunteerism/Transparency – Strategizing ways for more members of the WJC community to take on volunteering opportunities and leadership positions, and providing more visibility into the decisions and direction of WJC leadership
  • Marketing and Communications – Reviewing our strategic communications across a range of platforms and channels, including email, social media, website and print, taking into account content, cadence and capacity, as well as the degree to which we communicate our values and aspirations, among other objectives

These task forces will be open to all members of the congregation and I encourage everyone to consider getting involved. We want to hear from you—especially if you haven’t served on one of our committees or in a leadership position before. If you are interested in participating in these task forces or their sub-committees, please reach out to me or to our co-chairs on this effort at joliebman@gmail.comjonathanberg@bergsonline.com, or Larry@wjcenter.org. Additionally, if you know of others who may not be actively involved yet but would like to be, please encourage them to volunteer, or let us know and we will be happy to reach out to them.

In closing, I’d like to thank our entire Strategic Planning Taskforce, led by Joanna Liebman and Jonathan Berg, for their leadership and dedication in getting us this far – with more to come. I am incredibly proud of the engaged community we are, and I am encouraged and enthusiastic about the direction in which we are headed. With your support and commitment, I am confident that we will continue to thrive and grow in the years to come.

Thanks for all you do for WJC,

Larry Thaler


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