This is my final article in a series profiling the committees at Congregation Etz Chaim. Over the past several months, I have been writing about the many ways in which you can volunteer your time and energies to help the congregation. Our members who have gotten involved with our committees tell me that they receive great satisfaction from doing the work of the congregation, and that they form close friendships and a sense of connection to the synagogue from their efforts. This month I will be featuring the Social Action Committee, the Ways and Means Committee, and the Planned Giving Committee. All of these committees work with Vice President Jacob Margulies.
The Social Action Committee is chaired by Mimi Binette. It promotes activities on the local, national, and international levels that support the Jewish value of “Tikkun Olam” or “repairing the world.” Many of you have contributed to our efforts to welcome our PADS guests over the years – the Social Action Committee works with other area houses of worship under the PADS program to provide safe places to sleep and eat for members of our community in need. The Social Action Committee is closely involved with DuPage United, a non-partisan umbrella organization whose members are civil society institutions, including churches, mosques, and synagogues, who work to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities in our county. The other work of the Social Action Committee is too extensive to summarize in a brief article. If there are issues of social justice that you care about, or if you want to work with fellow congregants who strive to live their values in ways that touch the lives of others, please consider joining the Social Action Committee. The Social Action Committee usually meets on the first Tuesday of the month; please check the calendar as days are subject to change.
The Ways and Means Committee is chaired by Jim Weiskopf. This committee is charged with coordinating and implementing the fund-raising efforts of the congregation. For years the Ways and Means Committee has been sponsoring the Manna Program, which allows congregants to buy gift cards from many area vendors, with a percentage of the purchase price coming back to the congregation. If you have never participated in Manna, please do so – the congregation receives financial support at no cost to you. This year, the Ways and Means Committee is embarking on an exciting new fundraising venture. Along with the Brotherhood, Ways and Means is sponsoring a gala social event, “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” on February 11, 2012. Not only should you plan to attend (and mark your calendar now), but please also consider how you can help Ways and Means complete all the work needed to make this event a social and financial success. If you have a background in fundraising, if you like to reach out to people, and if you care about the financial well-being of the synagogue, Ways and Means might be a great fit for you. The Ways and Means Committee usually meets on the last Monday of the month; please check the calendar as days are subject to change.
These same qualities might also equip you for joining our newest committee, the Planned Giving Committee. Under the leadership of Mike Kayman, Planned Giving is just now fine-tuning its mission. The goal of the committee is to improve the long-term financial health of the congregation by working with congregants who wish to remember the congregation in their long-term financial planning. This committee offers an opportunity for congregants with strong financial and people skills to be in on the ground floor of designing a program which we hope will benefit the congregation for decades to come.
If you are interested in working with any of these committees, please contact either the committee chair or Vice President Jacob Margulies.