I had the pleasure of representing SWESRS at the Reform Judaism Chagigah biennial conference this past weekend. I have returned spiritually nourished and uplifted, as well as better informed on key principles in Synagogue Finance after attending all 4 session on the ‘Re-Thinking Synagogue Engagement and Finance’ Initiative. It was a real eye opener to discover that many Reform communities, large and small, from Alyth to Newcastle, face similar challenges to SWESRS, namely: having a budget insufficient to achieve the vision of the community. The bottom line we took away is: transparency, communication and community engagement. These are the things essential to thinking outside the box and finding creative solutions to financial constraints. I look forward to sharing more of what I learned as we move forward in finding creative solutions to our current financial chllenges at SWESRS. B’Shalom, Rabbi Lisa

A Message from Amit, Sarita & the Chagigah Team:

The sun shone, the t'fillah (prayer), sessions and initiatives inspired us and we all loved being part of the very special community we created for the weekend (See photo below).

We passed some pretty exciting motions at our AGM and thank you all for your support, the collective power we have as 42 communities really must not be underestimated. Gender-neutral toilets and reducing single use plastics both are in absolute alignment with our values and your unwavering support makes a very strong statement of who we are as Reform Jews, constantly making our tradition relevant and exciting for the future.

For our strengthening communities initiatives we voted unanimously to promote the NHS 5 Steps to wellbeing which will start to put mental health firmly on the agenda for our shuls. In Values for Money: Strengthening Synagogues Finance and Engagement we voted to investigate how each of our communities can use their budgeting process to transparently share their financial story with members and really ask whether our outgoings reflect the priorities and values of the community.

Our initiatives have strengthening relationships at their core and for those of you who are inspired by this the talented Charlotte Fischer will be running a one-day training on Sunday 22nd July in North London (ask Sarita if you are interested in a Northern course) to book please click here

Thank you for being with us, together we are stronger and we are very much looking forward to seeing you again soon.