Dear Bet Torah Family,

On Monday night, May 4, Bet Torah’s Board of Directors met to review, discuss and vote on a proposed budget for next fiscal year, beginning July 1. We are pleased to announce, the Board voted unanimously to adopt the proposed break-even budget , which includes no dues increases and no increase to our current security fee. Many thanks to our Treasurer, Adam Kupperman and our Financial Secretary and Budget Chair, Al Raboy for their work to develop and present this budget. Not only did they preserve our programs and our mission as a Jewish institution, they did so with recognition of our country’s uncertain economic future and in collaboration with our Bet Torah lay leadership and senior staff.

Considering current and expected future economic challenges, we are assuming reduced revenues next year. We are expecting some changes to our overall membership revenue, whether the result of more members needing assistance paying their dues, fewer new members than we have seen in past years, or fewer full-family memberships. Potential short-term or longer lasting financial hardships are sure to affect some members, and we are prepared to assist these families so they may retain their Bet Torah memberships, even if that means reducing their dues under special payment arrangements. Any Bet Torah member who is undergoing financial hardship should know that our primary goal is to provide a Jewish home for our members; anyone unable to pay a Bet Torah bill should reach out to Executive Director Seth Young to discuss how we may be able to help.

As we prepare for reduced revenues , we are already seeing increasing needs among our congregants. We are proud to have quickly and successfully transitioned to a thriving online presence, and we are pleased that these services and programs have been well received, with participation increasing weekly. But the need for connection and meaning among our congregants and the extended community we serve online continues to increase. Leadership has already begun conversations about how to continue to meet these needs realistically and within our means.

On the expense side, we are pleased that no cuts have been made to any of our Bet Torah programs: Our Ritual budget remains in tact, as do our Security, Technology, Kulanu, Nursery School and all other programmatic budgets. In deference to expected revenue reductions, we are unable to increase our Security and Technology budgets as initially requested by these committees. However, we are confident in our ability to continue to function safely and efficiently even without these requested increases considering the significant improvements we already made this year in both of these areas. Please watch for an upcoming Security update that will include information regarding ongoing security improvements and plans.

We are pleased to be able to retain our existing staff; though next year’s budget assumes no salary increases for all of our non-contractual employees. Please know that in a show of leadership, solidarity and respect for Bet Torah, Rabbi Brusso has requested that we freeze his salary next year regardless of his existing contract.

Bet Torah has the ability to create this break-even budget even in these uncertain times thanks to our current strong finances, despite the many additional costs we have incurred over the past year. Thanks to your extraordinary generosity and prudent financial planning, we were able to pay for significant security and technology upgrades and building repairs this fiscal year and still expect to end the year with about a one percent budget overage. Thank you to everyone who participated in our extremely successful Gala, made a donation to the Annual Fund and all other Bet Torah funds, and gave of their time, their energy and their effort.

Despite all of the work that went into creating a fiscally responsible break-even budget for next year, we recognize the best-laid plans … often go awry. As such, we will be changing our current practice of an annual budget review and next year will undergo quarterly budget reviews. We hope that with regular review and careful oversight we will be able to adjust our budget as necessary and depending on actual economic conditions within our community, whether that allows us to add more money to our budget or requires us to reduce spending further.

We hope you will join us on Sunday morning, May 31, at 10am for our Annual Membership Meeting to hear more details about next year’s budget, as well as an accounting of Bet Torah’s full year – a “State of the Synagogue” address. We will review the year’s accomplishments at this meeting and discuss current and future projects and also vote on our nominated slate for our Bet Torah Board of Directors. Not only do we hope you will join us for this meeting to show your support for Bet Torah and our proposed incoming Board, but we also must have a quorum to vote. Details to join this Zoom meeting will follow in the upcoming weeks.

Finally, please click here to view our May E-Message , which was posted on our website as of May 1. This month, we have photos from our February Gala, as well as photos taken during a dress rehearsal of what would have been our first-ever “Shusan Live” Purimspiel show.

As always, we hope you are well and healthy. Please reach out if you are in need or know someone from our community who is struggling. First and foremost, we are a caring Jewish community. We thank you for all you do to retain the sacredness of Bet Torah; we are able to remain strong because of who we are as a community.

Carol Siege, President
Seth Young, Executive Director


Questions
Seth Young - syoung@bettorah.org
Carol Siege - president@bettorah.org
Rabbi Brusso - rabbibrusso@bettorah,org