It is our honor to write to you about membership at Peninsula Temple Sholom. Even though we cannot be together in person, our core vision remains the same:
to create a community where everyone can find peace, inspiration, and their own connection to Judaism. You are a part of this vision, and PTS would not be the same without you in it.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted how we come together, PTS has been there for our congregants every step of the way, from virtual worship and Torah study to online programs for Youth Education and Preschool. Volunteers have been reaching out personally to every household. We have been particularly happy to offer new programs just for this moment, including QuaranTEEN Lunch, PTS Challah Bake, and Zoomside Connections, and are thrilled that many of you are participating now more than ever.
We were fortunate to secure emergency funds from the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which has enabled PTS to cover eight weeks of payroll (through mid-June), giving us this time to prepare for the coming year. As you know, the current environment is filled with uncertainty, making it difficult to plan for fall worship, programming, and school. We are anticipating a significant revenue shortfall for 2020-21, which could possibly be $600,000 or more. This is extraordinarily challenging. To address that gap, we sought a fair approach that was guided by our values.
Shared contribution is an important tenet as we face these stark financial realities. We are taking steps to protect cash and cut expenses wherever we can, including the difficult decision to freeze staff salaries. In addition, members of our clergy and senior staff team will be taking pay cuts. We are also expecting to use some of our Operating Reserve, our rainy day fund, conservatively and as appropriate. While we are working hard to maintain your experience as a congregant, if revenue were to decrease dramatically, we have contingency plans that may impact PTS’s offerings and programs.
As a community, we are facing these challenges together. Members of the Board of Trustees have already stepped up to make additional donations. Today, we are asking you to renew your membership. This annual ritual of giving from the heart is more timely and meaningful than ever. Knowing that this is a challenging time for many of our families, we have chosen not to raise our sustaining membership commitment level for the coming year. However, if you are able, we invite you to make a special contribution to our COVID-19 Recovery Fund or increase your membership commitment this year.
As we say at the end of reading a book of Torah, “Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazeik – Be strong, be strong, and together we will be strengthened!”
With heartfelt gratitude,
Rabbi Dan Feder Heidi Schell