Commandments for Synagogue Board Members
- Give Everyone the Benefit of the Doubt- Our sages
teach that we should judge everyone in the scale of merit.
As a Board member, there will come a time when you will find yourself with an angry
individual in your face, ranting and raving about some perceived slight. Remain calm.
Get the facts before responding or jumping into the fray. Sleep on your ideas before reacting. Always assume that the Rabbi, the staff, and
your fellow Board members have only the best of intentions and must have an excellent
reason for their decisions and behavior.
- Communicate- If you have a concern, share it
privately and respectfully with the person involved, bearing in mind commandment number
one, above. Don't plan in a vacuum. Let the Rabbi, the office manager, the bulletin
editor, etc., know what you have in mind, so that potential conflicts can be identified
immediately. Contact the PR chairperson in a
timely fashion so that your event can be as broadly publicized as possible.
- Focus on the Big Picture- Having accepted a
position on the Board, you are a trusted servant of the community. Constantly remind yourself that we all want
the best for the congregation. Don't take it
personally if your ideas are not accepted by acclamation; make an effort to check your ego
at the door. Our tradition teaches that when
a person is appointed to a position of leadership, s/he cannot say, "I am concerned
only with my own good; I am not bound to the community." On the contrary, the burden of the community rests
- Follow Through- Don't commit to something and
then drop the ball. Even though you are a
volunteer, once you assume a responsibility you have taken on an obligation. Please take it seriously.
- Delegate/ Ask for Help- Don't be a committee of
one. It is too easy for leaders to burn out
as a result of trying to do it all. The
congregation is blessed with many skilled members who can be of assistance. Sometimes
delegating is not enough. Life can get
in the way of even the most committed volunteer. If
you find that you are overextended, ask for assistance from Board members, committee
members, members of the congregation.
- Maintain Confidentiality- As a trusted member of
the Board, you will be privy to information which is not for public consumption. This can range from confidential conversations,
future plans for the community, staff negotiations, reduced dues requests, etc. Nothing undermines morale in a community as much
as the deterioration of trust in congregational processes.
- Support Each Other- You work hard to plan events. So do others on the Board. It is very discouraging to put in such an effort
and have little response. Make every attempt
to participate in as many activities as possible. It is also critically important that
Board members support Board decisions. Express
your opinion, agitate for your perspective, but, once a consensus is reached, don't
undermine it by publicly second-guessing the majority.
- Attend Services- Shabbat services are the heart
and soul of the congregation.They are important for you as an individual for your own
spiritual nourishment. They are an important opportunity for you as a Board member to
visit with synagogue members and to reach out to potential members.
Education- Continue your own Jewish education. You are a role model in the community. Part of setting an example involves active
participation in ongoing Jewish learning.
10. Say Thank
You- No volunteer project should be considered complete without taking the time to thank
those who make it possible. So, thank you for
your dedicated service on the Board and remember to formally thank those who support your
Rabbi Bonnie Koppell
Temple Beth Sholom
3400 N. Dobson Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85224