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President Susan Gould Shares a Or Ami’s Year of Achievements

At our congregational meeting last night, Or Ami’s President Susan Gould review Congregation Or Ami’s achievements this past year. We all schepped nachas (shared the joy).

  • Henaynu Caring Community Committee
    • Our new software (Hineynu Tracker) helps us keep track of our congregants in need.
    • Henaynu is expanding support especially for families with special needs children, and for people undergoing marital transitions.
    • Our commitment to “being there and being caring” continues to be a shining light of our congregation.
  • Our Social Action Programs are expanding to reach more people than ever before.
    • We have provided assistance and support to approximately 1000 children in the foster care system.
    • We lead the community in signups for the Walk for Darfur (to stop the Genocide in the Sudan)
    • We continue to donate weekly fresh produce for 1500 people to the SOVA Food Pantry
    • We are currently creating a Family Oriented Social Action Group, tentatively titled “Kids Mitzvah Club,” which will allow for family participation in social action projects.
  • Our Outreach to the Community has been booming.
    • Our new Or Ami Center for Jewish Parenting has held well-attended workshops about talking to kids about sex, death and parenting.
    • Our Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention program has led programs for our teens, trained another intern (Lydia Bloom Medwin) in pastoral counseling for Jewish alcoholics and addicts, and sent out multiple eNewsletters on how to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol.
    • Our Brandon Kaplan Special Needs program provided educational opportunities and support to dozens of Jewish children with special needs.
  • We have been racking up the awards.
    • At the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial convention this year, Or Ami won the Belin Membership and Outreach Award for our creative use of the internet to reach out to interfaith families, and the Nachshon Community of Learners Award for our Mishpacha program. In the last 6 years, Or Ami has won 4 of the 5 national awards the URJ gives out.
    • In addition, our members and clergy presented lectures at multiple educational sessions at this national biennial convention
  • Eco-Kosher: We have made the commitment to become environmentally cognizant of our eco-footprint. For starters, we have been installing energy efficient bulbs, implementing a recycling program, and distributing 300 re-useable shopping bags via our holiday delivery.
  • Our innovative educational programs, Kesher, Mishpacha, and Temple Teen night, continue to grow under the guidance of our Principal/Program Director Michal Rozenberg-Yalovsky and our interns.
  • Or Ami continues to attract Rabbinical and Education students who want to be here so much that they schlep all the way out to Calabasas to serve as interns, teachers and service leaders for our congregation
  • Fiscally, this year is on track to end in the black. This can be credited to:
    • Our new committee – Resource Development – has received over $500,000 in pledges and donations
    • This year’s Gala Committee which brought in record amount $60,000. Oh, and we sold & sold out
    • Our new Grant Writing chair has led us to identify, apply for and receive a record amount of grant funding
  • Membership has grown by 14% this past year, at a time when most synagogues are experiencing contraction. We are retaining significant numbers of members post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah and are bringing in record numbers of empty nesters. Our new members kvell like our veterans over how warm and welcoming Or Ami is.
  • And, of course, our Cantor and rabbi rock!!

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