Sunday, November 11, 2007

Who am I to call myself a temple board authority?

I'm Larry Kaufman, and my primary avocation throughout my adult life has been serving on committees and boards of organizations in the Jewish community. When I was in my twenties, I served as president of the Young People's Division of the Chicago Jewish Federation, and as the decades went on, so did I, to the board presidency of Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, and to various positions at Spertus College of Judaica and the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce, to name a few. But nothing involved me as completely and thoroughly as my activity at Temple Sholom, at the time Chicago's largest Jewish congregation (1700 member units), where over a period of some twenty years I chaired the Adult Education, Worship, Activities, Nominating, and Executive Committees, and served as president of the congregation and of its cemetery association.

As a believer that past presidents should be seen and not heard, I withdrew after my presidency from any governance role in the congregation, and busied myself elsewhere, becoming active regionally and nationally in the Union for Reform Judaism and internationally in the World Union for Progressive Judaism, visiting WUPJ congregations in England, Germany, Austria, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Israel. Along the way, the Union trained me to facilitate strategic planning and leadership development workshops for synagogue boards, which has taken me into congregations from coast to coast. Also along the way, I became a member of the Synagogue-Federation Relations Commission in Chicago, thus becoming exposed to the other denominations, and also undertaking a project here and there for Conservative and Reconstructionist congregations.

So I've been around, and when I speak about synagogues and synagogue boards, I know whereof I speak. And using this blog, speak I shall!

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