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An Update from our Co-Presidents

09/14/2023 06:11:50 PM


Stan Schapiro and Barbara Black

Dear CBI Members and Friends,

CBI is buzzing with energy and excitement as we prepare for the start of a new year and the High Holy Days.  In that spirit we are writing with an update on our financial picture and Rabbi search. We are taking a number of steps to strengthen our finances and keep them on a firmer foundation going forward. We deeply appreciate the work of the Board of Directors, CBI professional staff, and committee volunteers to develop these plans and put them into action.

Here are some updates:

  • We have identified our overall goal: to create a Culture of Giving at CBI.  We encourage members and others who are part of our community to take a deep look at the importance of CBI to them and the importance of having a robust Jewish Synagogue and Community in Northampton and to support this community as much as they are able. 
  • We have reached out to members who are behind in their dues.  For some, a reminder helped.  Others are in need of an abatement or payment plan.  Still others had effectively resigned (moved, etc.).  We are pleased to report that almost all have been contacted and are in the process of making a plan to catch up.  
  • We have asked all members to let us know how they plan to pay their dues for the FY 24 year (e.g. monthly, every 6 months etc) and put in place a process to remind and send statements.  For those who did not respond, we will follow up after the High Holidays.
  • In response to our earlier letter, numerous members who are able have paid their full FY 24 dues–or as much as they could–in the first month after the dues letter was sent out.
  • Thanks to the above and to the receipt of some state funding, our current cash balance is higher than it has been over the last year.
  • Over the course of this year, we will investigate the possibility of a “fair share” dues structure in which each member would be asked to use criteria to evaluate their dues capacity.  More on this later in the year.
  • We are reviewing our expenses focusing on understanding the true costs of all of our programming. This will help us to make decisions about programming in line with our vision for the CBI community. 
  • We thank our outgoing Treasurer, Lewis Rosenthal, for his great work and commitment over the last few years.  Lewis will be putting most of his efforts into our Ritual Committee.  We welcome our new Treasurer, Michael Turow.  Michael has decades of experience as an accountant, controller and CFO as well as a Synagogue Treasurer.  He will be a huge help in assisting us to understand and manage our financial systems. 
  • A Development/Sustainability committee is in process of being formed to work with our leadership staff to increase our revenue in these areas.

Our Sustainers Committee is reaching out to other members to join them.  Sustainers are members who have the means and commit to paying at least $500 per year above their dues.  If you are in a position to do so, please consider being a CBI Sustainer. Encourage others in your circle to join you. You can contact one of us or Johnny Joelson if you want to learn more about this group. 

Collections for our Kol Nidre Fund are beginning (these include donations made for guests).  Please consider helping as much as you are able.  

Thank you to the hundreds of people who have already filled out the Rabbinic Search Committee Survey. If you haven't yet done so, please take the survey to help make your voice heard in our search process. The survey will soon be closed and we will be moving to focus groups.  

Wishing you a healthy and rewarding new year.

Barbara Black and Stan Schapiro
CBI Co-Presidents

Mon, May 27 2024 19 Iyyar 5784