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Thank You for Participating in the Vision Forums

I’d like to thank all of you who participated in the Vision Forums held in December. The forums were an opportunity for our congregants to share their comments and provide an understanding of the topics most important to them at a time when the Temple Board begins their strategic planning initiatives. 41 congregants provided input about Temple based on three questions: what is working, what is not working and their dreams for the future. A total of 240 comments were documented across the three forums. Comments of the forum will also be shared and discussed with the staff and the Rabbi to be utilized as professional development opportunities. 

Comments included how wonderful our family services, High Holiday services, and music are as well as an appreciation of a welcoming, inclusive and accepting congregation. Many comments were made about how the staff and religious leadership is responsive and accessible. Comments were shared about a sense of new members joining Temple such as conversions, families and interfaith couples. Participants also commented about the building being attractive, clean and in good condition. 

Several participants shared comments about wanting to pursue more joint programming with Tifereth Israel and to consider bringing back the Jewish Food Fair or a similar type of event because of its value in sharing Jewish life with the broader Des Moines community. Participants also said that they like being involved in programming with other members of our congregation and the broader Jewish community and would like to see more opportunities to do so. Received both praise and criticism about Adult Education offered by the Temple. The Adult Education Committee will be assessing the program along with the Rabbi. People are also interested in seeing more spirituality in our programming. 

Dreams for the future included seeing the renovation of the upstairs hallway with new bathrooms, the completion of the new chapel downstairs, and some development outside of the building including a "Biblical Garden," as well as additional parking. In relation to the broader Jewish community, there was a hope among participants that a community center could be developed where Jews from across the community can congregate. There were also concerns expressed about the future financial well-being of the congregation and the Jewish community as a whole. 

There were very definite trends of similar comments among all three of the vision forums, which indicate that our members are expressing consistent opinions and concerns about Temple.  This is a positive sign that our congregation is on the same wavelength and gives the Board a clear sense of the path to take as we move forward.

Although the forums have concluded, don’t hesitate to forward your comments to me at any time. A link has been created on the Temple website where you can email your comments directly to me. Also for your convenience, comment cards have been placed in the social hall and at the entrance of the staff offices, which are collected and responded to weekly.

B’Shalom, Alan Adato