Dear Fellow Congregants,
Over the last several months, we, along with a team from The Temple-Tifereth Israel, have been exploring potential opportunities to collaborate in the future. We have much in common with The Temple-Tifereth Israel. We have engaged congregations and robust organizations. We are similar in size and membership demographics. And, importantly, we share the desire to ensure a strong future for our congregations and Reform Judaism in the Greater Cleveland community.
The first phase of our exploratory work is complete, and it has been very informative and promising. While no decisions have been made, both our task force and the task force from The Temple-Tifereth Israel are encouraged and we want to share an inspiring vision for the future with you.
Along with our peers at The Temple-Tifereth Israel, we envision an innovative, multi-generational congregation that warmly welcomes everyone and ignites engagement through robust offerings as a vibrant, spiritual community. Together with The Temple-Tifereth Israel, we see strong potential to invest in new engagement models to learn and grow while supporting our existing members. We seek to sustain inspiring physical spaces that honor our legacy. We want to inspire future generations through robust educational offerings as a pathway to engagement and spirituality. We can expand meaningful worship experiences that inspire community members who choose Reform Judaism as part of their Jewish journey. And we can create spaces and opportunities where people comfortably belong, no matter where they are on a Jewish journey.
We have determined that there is great potential to achieve this vision if we were to combine the strength of our current membership and resources with that of The Temple-Tifereth Israel, moving forward as one unified congregation. Yesterday, we presented this vision to our Board of Directors, along with the following practical areas of alignment that we have identified.
If we were to move forward with unification, the joint Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple/The Temple-Tifereth Israel task force is aligned on the following:
A single team of clergy, led by Rabbi Robert A. Nosanchuk, would serve the combined needs of our collective membership and the new unified congregation. His tenure in that position would begin on July 1, 2024. The clergy team includes clergy from both temples: Rabbi Joshua Caruso (Fairmount Temple), Rabbi Yael Dadoun (TTTI), Rabbi Roger Klein (TTTI), Rabbi Elle Muhlbaum (Fairmount Temple), Rabbi Richard A. Block, Senior Rabbi Emeritus (TTTI), Cantor Vladimir Lapin (Fairmount Temple), Cantor Kathryn Wolfe Sebo (TTTI), Cantor Laureate Sarah Sager (Fairmount Temple).
- A single physical home at the current The Temple-Tifereth Israel Beachwood location would best serve our collective membership. Based on our review, it is best equipped to accommodate the needs of a potential unified congregation from a facilities standpoint.
- A single religious school and early childhood program would have the ability to serve the collective membership.
- A single, unified operation with one executive director would support the new entity.
- A single, unified Board and governance structure would serve the combined needs of the new entity.
- An intention to unify the utilization of all financial assets in the future.
Having identified these areas of alignment, we are now expanding our evaluation process. This starts with getting feedback from you, our congregation.
We want to share information with you directly about what the joint task force has accomplished, gather your input, answer your questions, and share what still needs to be done to determine our best path forward.
We invite our members to join us at an upcoming town hall meeting:
- Monday, September 18 – 6:30 p.m. at Fairmount Temple, in-person only
- Wednesday, September 20 – 9:00 a.m. at Fairmount Temple, in-person only
- Wednesday, September 20 – 6:00 p.m. Zoom only
Please let us know if you'll participate in one of these town hall meetings by completing this form. RSVPs required to help us plan for seating and to send Zoom link.
Following these meetings, we will be conducting further due diligence and forming additional joint task forces composed of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple and The TempIe-Tifereth Israel members. We will also update the congregation on the common themes, frequently asked questions, and next steps. At a later date, we will hold open houses at each temple to provide an opportunity to learn, ask questions and for congregants at both temples to get to know each other better. We will also reach out to our congregation by means of an electronic poll that will enable our Board to have an accurate picture as to how the Fairmount Temple community is responding to these proposals.
We know that this recommendation represents the potential for a significant change for our community, and that you may have many questions. Please know that our task force has taken this responsibility very seriously and we believe that this is a tremendous opportunity to create a bright future for our congregation and for Reform Judaism.
We look forward to talking with you at our town hall meetings.
Michele Krantz, President
Please note: Fairmount Temple will be sending a special eblast this Thursday morning, Sept. 14, with reminders, live-stream links, parking information and tips to best enjoy and support our sharing in a joyful, secure and welcoming gathering for Rosh Hashanah worship services this weekend.