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President's Blog: Status Quo is Not Good Enough, February 2023

It is the time of year when we begin working on budgeting for the 2024 fiscal year. To that end, the finance committee and I have spent and will spend considerable time working through our revenue and expense projections to ensure that we have enough of the former to pay the latter. To be sure, this is not a fun process. But it is a process that we go through each year to safeguard our congregation so that it continues to operate and serve its members. We are fortunate that our financial structure is solid, but it could always be better.


Everyone is aware that, like most every temple, TKC primarily relies on dues, mortgage and maintenance fees, religious school tuition, donations and other fees (like b’nai mitzvah) that are collected from its members to pay expenses. We are also fortunate to have Seeds of Wonder Journey School, our preschool, growing by leaps and bounds and contributing financially. TKC is similar to a business in that it has employees (clergy, administrative and religious school teachers), a mortgage, security requirements, and electric, water, and internet expenses, among others. As such the temple is as susceptible to inflation just as any other person or business. At the same time, we are a religious organization that tries to be flexible and welcoming to all, and we do not turn people away who are in need or are unable to afford our full dues. As a community of life, it is important for all our members to understand that they and their families have a place to go where they are welcome with no questions asked - even in difficult financial times. Thankfully, our ordinary dues structure together with voluntary member contributions and other income sources typically allow us to meet these families’ needs and our expenses.


The massive renovation during which we converted our facility away from being three separate buildings with its bones as a Baptist Church to the beautiful Jewish facility it is, which may seem to some like it occurred yesterday, was in 2004. Yes, next year will be 20 years – and that means updates and repairs are and will be needed. Similarly, the community room in our social hall is in dire need of a face lift. It is a space that we often use for temple and member lifecycle events, but is also a place that we historically rented to outside groups to generate revenue. With its aged décor rental income has declined. Finally, our landscaping needs updating to make the temple more noticeable and attractive to prospective members and passers-by.


Like most temples, we modestly increase dues and other charges each year to cover the temple’s increased expenses. This year, we are at a bit of a crossroads in large part due to an ailing economy and having an aging facility. For this reason, our 2024 fee increases are likely to be more than usual, but not substantially so. What we really need though, in addition to our fee increases, is for our members to get active.


As we continue in 2023, please consider doing the following:

  • Recommend TKC to an unaffiliated Jewish friend or family and/or bring them to services. Word-of-mouth recommendations are more valuable than any other kind of marketing we might do.

  • If you have a special talent or business that can assist with updating our facilities as discussed above, please let us know. We are looking for help with design, materials and, of course, labor.

  • If you would like to help formulate solutions to address the issues above, join the Board or a Committee! We are currently seeking new members to join the Board beginning in June.

  • If you would like to contribute financially, consider joining the Circle of Giving, buy a leaf on our Tree of Life, or simply go to our webpage and hit the “Donate” button.


As I mentioned previously, we are fortunate to have come through the pandemic relatively unscathed. But status quo is not good enough. With your help and participation, we can build our Kehillah and secure its future for years to come. As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to call me or email me at president. litman@kehillatchaim.org.

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