We have a new and exciting committee at Etz Chaim. The committee started with a conversation and a generous offer from one of our members. Al Herbach, who was president of Etz Chaim a few years ago, facilitates strategic plans for all sorts of organizations with his business partner Becky Davenport. They generously offered to lead a strategic planning initiative for the Congregation.
For several months, a core group has met with Al and Becky. We have discussed our Etz Chaim values and history, and we have looked critically at our assumptions and direction. They asked us difficult questions about how we perceived the future of the Congregation and how the Congregation fits within the community. It has been challenging, and the more we discussed these important issues, the more we realized how important our institution is to our members.
As we are moving through this strategic planning process, we are involving more congregants. These meetings are helping us to assess the needs of congregants and to understand what we can do and what we should do in the future. Naturally, it is important that we hear from different members regarding their needs, desires, and capacities. This planning will then allow us to identify the most important programs and services of Congregation Etz Chaim. If we plan properly, we will ensure that we are meeting these challenges now and into the future.
This isn’t the first time that we have embarked on a strategic or long-term plan at Etz Chaim. To be sure, previous plans have been implemented and have shaped the history of our congregation. One of my objectives with this plan is that planning should continue into the future. After this plan is “completed,” I hope to create a committee that will review it regularly and change it as the world changes around us.
Al and Becky’s leadership in this endeavor has been unparalleled. The experience they have brought to us is invaluable. The next time you see Al around the Temple, I hope you join me in thanking him and Becky for their generosity.