Posted on April 8th, 2014

Report on our Spring Leadership Team meetings, March 2014

Rabbi Laura Novak Winer, ARJE First Vice-President

Following the amazing experience of being together for our professional learning Kallah, our ARJE Operations and Governance leadership gathered together for two days of meetings. Once again, during our valuable time together we were able to see first hand the work so many of our volunteers do for the benefit of our members and our organization. Read on for a summary of the salient deliberations and decisions.

ARJE Operations Team Meeting
• The Operations leadership continued to work both collaboratively and independently on their projects and initiatives. A focus of their work this spring was on exploring how to better support each other as volunteers and leaders in our organization so that we can advance the work we set out to do.
• All of the teams will continue to work diligently on their projects through the end of the school year and over the summer. The dedicated members of our Operations Team do not stop!

Joint Board and Operations Meeting
• Participants in this meeting include leadership of the Board and the Operations teams, as well as chairs of each of our Board and Operations committees.
• The leadership reviewed some of the very preliminary findings of the ARJE Salary and Benefits survey. We are all very pleased with the 53% response rate from our members and look forward to learning more during the upcoming webinars on the survey findings.
• In assisting the work of the Annual Gatherings Task Force, the leadership did some brainstorming about how to make some of the events of our annual conferences more welcoming and inclusive of all our members. Stacy Rigler and Stephanie Schwartz chair the Annual Gatherings Task Force.
• In support of the Assessing the Needs of ARJE Members task force, the leadership participated in an exercise that explored the needs our members and what our members are looking for that we may not be providing. The Task Force on Assessing the Needs of ARJE Members is chaired by Anne Berman Waldorf.
• The leadership reviewed the work of all of our committees and teams: Clergy-Educator Committee, NATE’s 60th Anniversary Committee, Leadership Development and Recruitment Committee, as well as the Advocacy, Membership, Communications, Professional Learning and Finance Teams.

ARJE Board Meeting
• The Board responded to a draft mission statement crafted by the Mission Statement Task Force chaired by Mara Braunfeld and Lisa Lieberman Barzilai. The board is very close to adopting a new mission for our organization that more accurately reflects who we are and how we want to position ourselves in the Reform Movement.
• In considering a new mission, the Board also spent some time “playing” around with crafting a vision for NATE. With choices of media for expression – art, a mock-newsletter, or a Pixar-style story (Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.) – our Board had fun being creative. While not nearly Academy Award worthy, enjoy this peek at the video put together by the Pixar story group.

• The Board approved the establishment of a new Israel Guidelines Task Force that will develop an updated draft of NATE’s Israel Guidelines.

• The Board continued to consider the long-term financial health of our organization by reviewing a proposal brought from the Financial Structure Task Force, chaired by Kathy Schwartz and Roxanne Shapiro. The task force will be addressing questions from the board in their ongoing deliberations and bring a revised proposal back to an upcoming Board meeting.
• The Board passed the FY2014-15 budget.

As we experience our liberation from Egypt during this Passover season, all those who serve as leaders in our ARJE community inspire me. We are replete with Nachshons, those who are willing to step forward and help us achieve our greatest potential as Jewish educators and leaders in the Reform Movement.