Rabbi Cosnowsky, Etz Chaim’s Strategic Plan

The strategic planning committee has spent the past eight months surveying the congregation and identifying strategic initiatives to work on over the next five, ten and even fifteen years. We identified and discussed trends in religion and particularly Jewish religious life and gathered input from our congregation on what is important to them. We are sharing the results of the strategic plan in the hopes that we can get as much congregant participation in helping these goals come to fruition.

The first change that will be made, starting this July, is that with a few exceptions, Shabbat services on Friday nights will be at 7:30. (On 4th of July weekend, Shabbat Shuvah, Christmas, New Year’s Day and during Passover, services will be Kabbalat Shabbat 6:30 services.) The Ritual and Religious Committee approved this earlier time based on our survey data, combined with the experimentation of themed services and differing service times this year. The committee’s recommendation to have a standard 7:30PM Friday night service would reduce confusion and potentially increase attendance. (Tot Shabbat will be back once a month at 6:30pm, in addition to our 7:30 service). Music will be led by either our song leader Cindy Michelassi, our Shabbat band, the Life Tree Ramblers, Greg Zelman and the choir or the Jr. Choir, led by Terry Shapiro. Complimentary babysitting will be provided for all 7:30 services.

The committee identified our core values that form the foundation for everything we do and pursue as a congregation. They included:
Torah Principles
Education and Lifelong Learning
Inclusion and Diversity
Caring Community
Tikkun Olam - (Repair the World)
Volunteerism
Engagement

The committee shaped a possible vision for our congregation of the future that included the following strategic initiatives:
Being more open to change
Combating attrition
Developing better outreach
Being a healthy and supportive congregation to sustain Judaism in western suburbs
Becoming a more virtual temple to increase engagement (Temple without Walls)
Meeting people where they are
Providing more social activities
Reflecting more involvement in the world in general, in our society
Pursuing education and advocacy
Staying relevant
Attracting and retaining younger congregants

Stay tuned - We are going to be sharing more information about the plan, our goals, (both short and long term,) what we hope to accomplish and how you can help us reach our objectives. Copies of the plan will be posted on the website as soon as it’s published.