Building sacred community – 2009 to 2011
Adopted by the Board of Trustees -- October 15, 2009

Building sacred community
A community is all about relationships and caring for one another. It’s how “I” and “others” becomes “we” and “us”. Our success depends on our ability to connect as members -- with each other, with Judaism, and with our collective congregational journey as we pray, study and fulfill acts of loving kindness. Through these connections, we share our stories, express our identity, nurture one another and grow. Over the next two years, we aspire to take welcoming to the next level as we fulfill our vision to be a warm, welcoming, dynamic, participatory and inclusive family of friends.

  • Proactive outreach to grow membership and better serve the needs of younger prospective members. We strive to connect with non-affiliated families through proactive outreach – with a special focus on prospective members in their twenties/early thirties as well as families new to the Twin Cities. We aim to make the process of becoming a member simple and non-threatening – making our community easily accessible to all who express interest. We will strive to connect prospective members with the right resources (including Rabbinical) to help them understand the benefits of joining Bet Shalom, and to commence the connection process.
  • Welcoming new members. We strive to engage new members and to connect them within our community. We aim to host welcoming dinners, establish mentor programs, educate them about our congregation and post pictures of new members so they can be recognized and welcomed by other congregants.
  • Creating community at services and study. We want to create an inclusive environment where all feel welcomed at services and study.
    • We aim to greet people at the door when then come to services, and help them feel comfortable at Bet Shalom.
    • We aim to make our building less intimidating to new visitors, e.g. adding additional signage.
    • We will take into consideration the diverse desires of congregants as we revise and expand our worship and study options. We try to make study and services accessible by modifying the time and format to engage as much of the community as possible. We continue to innovate by incorporating ideas such as:
      • Creatively enhancing our musical services to make it more lively and participative (e.g. enhanced song sheets at Ruach to encourage more participation; guest musicians; innovative use of our sound system to create appropriate ambiance, intergenerational choir)
      • Creatively enhancing our study programs (e.g. Family study; special Torah study for 20/30s – potentially tied to current events)
  • Communication. We aspire to engage in dialog with our members and actively seek feedback. We use all forms of communication -- electronic as well as traditional – making sure that all have access. We will use pictures to enhance recognition.
  • Encouraging members to become involved. We will tap into our member’s passion and talents to facilitate meaningful involvement.
    • Our membership is very diverse, and all must feel included. We continue to nurture and support programs and initiatives that engage with our diverse membership.
    • As our members move through different stages in life, we need to continue to engage with them and find opportunities that meet their current needs.
    • We will take proactive measures to return to our roots as a congregation where everyone pitched in. Not only will this result in a more engaged member community, but it will also help us meet our budgetary challenges.
  • Honoring, recognizing and appreciating member contributions. Our goal is to find new and innovative ways to recognize and appreciate member contributions (both volunteer and financial).
  • Engaging in social action. We help our members feel connected with the community by creating meaningful opportunities for Gemilut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness), Tzedakah (pursuit of justice), and Tikkun Olam (repairing our world).
  • Supporting our congregants and community when they are in need of healing. Recognizing the positive impact of our caring community and congregational nurse initiatives, we will continue to offer loving support when required.
  • Connection with Israel. We continue to connect spiritually, culturally, and supportively with our brothers, our sisters, and our children in Israel.