Ballot Statements 2010
I want to see the Minyan re-discover its uniqueness, be confident and proud of its heritage, and continue to be the core of Jewish Renewal, a magnet to those who seek the "real thing".
I want to explore how I can support the Minyan and what in my background and my experience can contribute to the group effort. In my day job I have been working for a few years now as a program Director at a synagogue that grapples with similar issues.
As many of you know, I am an experienced musician, band leader, event organizer, videographer, and internet marketer. I am happy to share whatever experience I have from my work. I want to be a part of a dedicated and dynamic group that makes things happen.
After I left Garberville and B'nai Ha-Aretz, I helped found an Egalitarian Minyan in Berlin, Germany, and helped design and lead services there with many renewal elements.
I joined the Minyan when I moved to Berkeley in 1995 and attended my first Minyan High Holy Day services. I began attending Minyan events regularly, eventually hosting them and leading services as well. After apprenticing myself to the Minyan service leaders, in 2001-03 I studied in the Davvening Leadership Training Program under the tutelage of Renewal leaders Rabbis Marcia Prager and Shawn Zevit. This training gave me a better sense of the elements of a service and how to use them most effectively.
I am involved in helping to create a joint Chevra Kadisha with Chochmat HaLev. I also lead the Programming committee, help plan and lead services, and am part of the Finance and Rabbinic Services committees. Currently I am acting editor of the E-Update, and am training Gayle Jacobson to take over this function.
I want to continue serving on the Minyan Council to help provide strength and continuity in leadership. I see the Minyan at present as having a strong core of lay leadership in the heart-oriented functions necessary to a congregation such as caring for the sick and bereaved, building community, and creating uplifting religious events. We need to build our capacity in some crucial support functions, especially our financial base.
During my time as Shomeret, we began publication of the weekly e-mail Update; worked together to bring Rabbi Diane Elliot on board and raise her salary; and we started the consortium of East Bay Renewal congregations that now celebrates minor holidays together.
Prior to becoming active in the Minyan, I was founder and Executive Director of The Sonoma Institute, a nonprofit graduate school of psychology. I have an M.A. in Psychology and have worked for thirty years as a psychotherapist and organizational consultant.
The Minyan is very important to my life. I love the community and the depth and our worship together. I love dancing in shul, reaching out to others, helping and being helped, and growing together by working things out. I love having known some of you for over twenty years, and also welcoming and becoming acquainted with new people who join us all the time.
To me, the Minyan is a wonderful wild strain in Judaism, founded in an encounter with the Eternal, and bearing that energy forward. I believe this is a time for us to look to our enormous resource of lay leaders and guest rabbis for both service leadership and spiritual support. I also believe we can and should raise funds to continue working with Rabbi Diane, and with other teachers and leaders.
Currently, I serve the Council in the areas of fundraising, public relations, member recruitment, and strategic planning. I have been leading a Healing Group for Hard Times and am working on the Spiritual Support Team.
I am excited about the Thirty-Sixth Anniversary and foresee a bright and creative future for the Minyan.
As I look at how I could serve my new community, it seems to me that serving on the Board makes the most sense In addition to my Board experience at Kehilla, I have extensive Board experience with other nonprofits. I also have fund raising experience.
It is a little soon for me to know with precision how I think the Aquarian Minyan should move into the future. What I am sure of is that it is vital that it continue in financial and administrative health. It is essential that there be a community that provides the sense of intimacy that the Minyan does. It is also the only surviving Synagogue without walls. That is important not only because of the reliance on hearth and home that is implicit, but it changes “going to services” to participating in a community spiritual experience that goes beyond the limit of blessing to blessing...
For years after, I have served as a High Holiday service coordinator, chanted Torah at services, read the Megillah for Purim and lead in many capacities, including these past two years that I have served on the Minyan Council as Treasurer. The council has seen new people join and some people leave. It has negotiated and re-negotiated its relationship with Rabbi Diane Elliot. It has raised money and decided how to spend it. It has established the structures that allow our spiritual energies to flow, particularly on the High Holidays.
Now that I'm "at home" on the council, I have a better sense of how the Minyan works and where it's going. I bring to the table my past experiences as President of two non- profit boards, yet temper this knowledge with a healthy sense of traditionally Jewish casuistry. It is a mitzvah to volunteer my time to an organization that I care about. I would be honored if you would continue to give me the opportunity to perform this mitzvah by re-electing me to the council for another term.