Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey

President's Message Summer 2014

On May 10, 2014, the JCNWJ held its annual Goals and Objectives Meeting. The meeting was attended by a cross-section of our congregation, including past leaders, new leaders, our temple youth and future lay leaders. The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm on various topics that would make us a stronger congregation. The word of the day was “connecting” and how we can “connect” better with one another.

Our initial focus was on our temple youth. With the assistance of Alex Parson and Kelsey Shelofsky, we agreed that we need to increase activities for our post-confirmation and confirmation students. Suggestions included utilizing the Simcha Room for game night, movie night and other social gatherings. We also discussed overnight trips to the Holocaust Museum in DC and the Jewish Museum in Philadelphia. These types of events will help our temple youth to connect with each other and the JCNWJ, in addition to fostering fond memories of their JCNWJ experience.

As for our junior youth, we discussed arranging gatherings outside of the classroom so that our younger students can begin connecting with each other and the JCNWJ at an earlier age. An added benefit of this experience will be the bonds developed between the parents of these youngsters.

We also discussed the introduction of the “Shabbat Experience” for our junior youth. Our typical Friday night services along with the onegs that follow tend to conclude late for our junior families. The Shabbat Experience would commence earlier, with a picnic dinner and story telling segment conducted by the Rabbi, and conclude earlier with the Shemah and the Kiddush during the service. Our junior family attendees at the Goals and Objectives Meeting concurred that such experience is a great idea and welcomed such opportunity for their kids.

Our connection thought process didn’t stop with our youth. We agreed that we need more adult activities beyond those presently offered at the temple, particularly ones that would be more engaging for our interfaith spouses. An example of such activities would be social gatherings held at a members’ home (similar to highly attended ones previously hosted by the Berkowitz and Herson families last summer).

Other topics that were discussed included our exciting new kitchen project, which should be completed in time for the New Year, increased leadership opportunities and maximizing social media.

All of the above discussion topics are great ideas that will build connections and strengthen our Jewish community. However, these ideas can only become a reality with our members’ participation and assistance. We need members to step up and take the lead. If you are interested in helping, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me to discuss how you can assist. If you have an idea for a youth or adult activity that you believe will be fun and meaningful for our congregation, please let me know. In large part, it is through such connecting activities that our temple community will continue to thrive.

Again, I would like to thank all of those members who attended a very productive Goals and Objectives Meeting.

Mo Bauer

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Last updated: July 13, 2014