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A Note from the President

There is no question that Congregation Shaarei Shamayim is a special Jewish community.  We celebrate Judaism throughout the year.  We offer numerous learning opportunities for youth and adults.  We welcome both teens and adults as b’nei mitzvah.  We strengthen bonds through havurot, get-togethers, and holiday celebrations.  We are community-focused and volunteer-driven.  We value membership participation in committees and strive for consensus in our community decision-making.  We are diverse, introspective, thoughtful, welcoming, and inclusive—and because of this, we continue to grow. 

With the darkest days of the pandemic behind us, the need for a strong and healthy community has never been more apparent.  We are proud of Shaarei Shamayim’s continued growth and evolution and are delighted to celebrate Rabbi Laurie’s 20th anniversary at Shaarei Shamayim this year.  In addition, we are exceptionally proud that we are approaching (and perhaps by the time you are reading this, have already surpassed) 200 member households!  With this growth, the needs of our diverse community continue to grow as well.  A consistent message we hear is that our members value more programming, events, and opportunities to come together as a community.  In order to meet these needs, we’ve hired a full-time Director of Member Engagement and a part-time Office Coordinator to help Rabbi Laurie and our many volunteers meet the needs of our growing community. 

It goes without saying that doubling our staff size has had an impact on our budget.  For the past 10 years, we, along with the other Jewish congregations in Madison, have been fortunate to have received annual operating grants from the Irwin A & Robert D Goodman Foundation.  Funding from the Goodman Foundation has been instrumental in allowing our congregation to grow while remaining on sound financial footing.  This year, 2023, was the planned and anticipated end of these annual grant disbursements from the Goodman Foundation.

While Shaarei Shamayim has diligently prepared for the end of this grant funding, due to our increased costs, we are projecting an approximately $30,000 budget deficit for the coming 2023-2024 fiscal year.  Rest assured that our finances remain on sound footing, and previous fundraising efforts have built reserves to comfortably cover our planned deficit this year.  As we begin our new fiscal year, we will be working to implement long-term strategies for the congregation to close this gap and ensure the sustainable future of our congregation for many years to come.

Next month we will welcome the Jewish year 5784.  As you plan for the fall, we ask you to consult the dues schedule.  Please consider increasing your dues if you can, or making a meaningful contribution to our Sustain Our Future Fund, to help keep our community growing and thriving in the coming years.  A modest dues increase per household of $50 to $100 would go a long way to cover our anticipated deficit.

Lisi Schrimpf, President
Adam Streiffer, Treasurer
On behalf of the Congregation Shaarei Shamayim Coordinating Committee

Fri, May 17 2024 9 Iyyar 5784