Apr 23, 2017  ::  27 Nisan 5777
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As we look to the New Jewish Year of 5777, we are happy to officially announce the Securing Tomorrow Today endowment campaign to meet the current and future challenges facing our synagogue community — so that what we do today will benefit us now and for generations to come.

As of December 2016, thanks to the generosity of 122 families, we have now raised more than $6.5 million toward our minimum $7 million goal. We are grateful to our generous donors who have provided a strong foundation to secure our tomorrow today, and to our volunteers working on this effort.

By strengthening our endowment, we are investing in all we cherish:

We are blessed with the highest caliber spiritual leadership from Rabbi Mark Schiftan, Rabbi Shana Goldstein Mackler, and Cantor Tracy Fishbein. Over a dozen clergy have served Temple congregants throughout our history, from our first Rabbi Alexander Iser to Rabbi Randall Falk to Rabbi Mark Schiftan. Our clergy lead the congregation, respond to our daily needs, and support and celebrate our families’ life-cycle events.

Whether working daily with students, traveling with and coaching the Mazel Tones, or sharing Torah wisdom every weekend, our clergy act as our leaders, teachers, and neighbors. Our clergy are recognized not only for their work within our congregation but also for their work in the wider Nashville community and nationally. They are the face of our congregation.

Our clergy are one of our strongest assets. Our beloved clergy and their longevity, in turn, only help to underscore The Temple’s position as the ‘go-to’ place, providing Jewish leadership for the wider community. The establishment of an initial Clergy Excellence Fund by a generous gift from a single-donor family, who recognized the fund’s importance to attract and retain extraordinary professional clergy, began to help underwrite the annual expenses and compensation of our outstanding clergy. It cannot, however, meet the full need. This new influx of endowed capital, while not fully funding the clergy need, will help form a stronger foundation to ensure our beloved clergy may remain a vibrant part of our spiritual life and future generations at The Temple will have the finest clergy for years to come.

An increased endowment will allow us to enhance enrichment programs that the congregation has come to expect and appreciate, thereby deepening congregants ’ engagement with The Temple. Although our congregation has benefitted from significantly expanded programming over the past ten years, The Temple has not charged our congregants’ fees for these programs. Instead, our endowment has provided the necessary financial support for these activities.

We have seen a congregational thirst for additional programming. Established programming, such as Chevrah Torah, Lunch with the Rabbi, the Health and Wellness Series, the Life-Long Learning Lecture Series, Conversion Conversations, and Tot Shabbat services, builds relationships among congregants, regardless of differences in age, interests, and other demographics.

To target young professionals moving to Nashville, who make up 25% of our newest memberships, we have increased our programming and developed Board approved young adult giving levels in order to engage the next generation. In addition, The Temple engaged Rabbi Michael Shulman to serve as Director of Education and Next Generation Programming to focus on this growing demographic. By creating additional Temple connections - especially for empty nesters, a group often distanced from Temple life - we will serve our community even better. Involving both young adults and empty nesters to a greater degree will inspire future Temple leaders and supporters.

Recognizing that today’s families are diverse in their makeup, we need to expand our interfaith and family programming and resources in order to reach and welcome all of our members. From couples and parents to grandparents and children, it is important we provide sensitive and compassionate religious experiences for families to share. There is much a synagogue can do for all families.

We have the chance several times a week each week to touch the lives of our Temple families. Aside from the High Holy Days, Shabbat, and weekly adult learning opportunities, our building is also filled Wednesday nights for mid- week Hebrew and post-confirmation classes and Sunday mornings for Religious School. With nearly two hundred students ranging from pre-kindergarteners to high school seniors, our Religious School has seen an 8% enrollment increase from last year.

Today, Religious School costs each family $460 per student plus an additional $330 for Midweek Hebrew, and is subsidized by The Temple budget in order to be more affordable for Temple families. With an increased endowment, The Temple can expand the ways in which we currently provide aid to Religious School families in order to remove any potential financial barriers to accessing religious education. Children come to Religious School to learn about our Jewish values, strengthen their Hebrew skills, and, most importantly, to build relationships through shared experiences with other Jewish students and teachers who are also part of our Temple family.

While continuing to provide an excellent education and learning experiences for our children, we need to support life-long learning for all of our members, those before, during, and after their child-rearing years. Our rabbinic leaders and congregants are working together to create a comprehensive curriculum on life, communication, raising mensches, death, and more – all of which will be taught through a Jewish lens. Future learning sessions include:

“Living a Meaningful Life”

“Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say”

“Tips for Raising Grateful Children”

“Building Confidence and Resilience in Children”

“Land the Helicopter: The Benefits of a Less Hovering Parent”

“Let’s Talk About It: Conversations About Dying and Death.”

One of the ways members measure their connection and sense of belonging to The Temple is the attention given to providing them with our ongoing opportunities for learning and growth. Educational programs need to go beyond the traditional approaches to find creative, meaningful ways for our Religious School students and all our members to learn by experiencing Judaism as a part of our everyday lives. Through expanding funding in this area, we will continue to be able to meet the financial needs of our Religious School and further life-long learning opportunities for all ages in our congregation.

The Temple takes its fiscal responsibility and stewardship of philanthropic support seriously. The financial stability offered by planning for the future allows us to remain forward thinking and take advantage of opportunities that may arise to further our mission and long-term goals, while securing core operations for future generations.

In 1998, we launched Daring to Dream, successfully raising $10.4 million to reimagine and renew our facilities. Since then, our goal has been to fill this beautiful space with creative approaches to programs across the life-span, offer joyous and uplifting worship services, support members’ needs whatever they may be, attract excellent clergy, and continue to respond to social justice issues of the day.

Now, almost two decades after Daring to Dream, we must continue to build on our accomplishments. This will require us to plan ahead in order to have the necessary resources for the current and ever changing needs of our congregation. In order to be fiscally responsible, we have identified the following ongoing greatest needs:

o Continued enhancement of security: Amid today’s increasing concerns, we plan to continually upgrade and enhance the building’s security to protect our members.

o Care and upkeep of our Temple facility: Many who walk through our doors remark on our beautiful space, and while the building is starting to show its age, we want it to serve the congregation well for years to come.

o Communication to our members and wider community: We must consistently invest in and employ comprehensive communication and marketing strategies as well as relevant technology and website software for everything from Religious School to billing and fundraising.


While we honor our past as a congregation, we must also look to the future. Increasing our endowment will provide the resources for us to be forward thinking, responsive and relevant, while securing our ability to operate for generations to come.

Establishing a cemetery (Beit Hayyim, or House of Life) is one of the first priorities of a new Jewish community. Our founders purchased the land for the cemetery even before land was bought for The Temple itself. Looking to the future, The Temple must ensure we maintain our cemetery’s upkeep and beautification as we expand our property and the costs for care continue to rise.

Our beautiful cemetery, dating back to 1851, earned the distinction of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. The original land acquired, however, is insufficient to meet our congregation’s need. At present, we have opened up the final section of land available for burial in our current space. There are 125 lots remaining in the existing cemetery – only 60 plots without splitting up lots.

Located in North Nashville, our cemetery is approximately one city block in size. We are in the process of buying the few remaining houses in a block adjacent to the cemetery. The Temple now owns 19 out of 26 properties in the adjacent block. Once all the land is purchased, we plan to enclose and repurpose the lots, thus providing sufficient additional cemetery plots for generations to come. As we address the plans for expansion, our costs for care of the cemetery and its grounds will continue to increase.

Both the current and expanded property must be landscaped and properly cared for in order to preserve the sacredness of the cemetery. Future plans include: replacement of the caretaker house on the cemetery grounds with an aesthetic structure for burial ceremonies, equipped with restrooms and a parking lot; investment in and expansion of our irrigation system to ensure the beautification of our cemetery grounds; and providing necessary funds for current and future cemetery needs.

It is important to honor our loved ones properly, both now and in the years to come, by laying them to rest in a beautiful Jewish cemetery, beside all those we love and remember as a blessing. As we continue to acquire property to expand our cemetery and finalize our plans, it is our responsibility to ensure we have the funds necessary to maintain and beautify our current and soon expanded sacred cemetery grounds.

The Temple takes its fiscal responsibility and stewardship of philanthropic support seriously. This campaign is a prudent and proactive means to double the size of our unrestricted endowment, and will therefore allow us to remain forward thinking and take advantage of opportunities that may arise to further our mission and long-term goals, while securing core operations for future generations.

The Temple takes its fiscal responsibility and stewardship of philanthropic support seriously. This campaign is a prudent and proactive means to double the size of our unrestricted endowment, and will therefore allow us to remain forward thinking and take advantage of opportunities that may arise to further our mission and long-term goals, while securing core operations for future generations.

This bold initiative is one of the largest and most significant undertakings in The Temple’s history - it is our first comprehensive endowment effort. To be successful, we will need everyone to join together to secure our tomorrow today. In the coming months, the entire congregation will be invited to participate in this historic campaign. Please begin thinking about your own aspirational gift; we look forward to meeting with each congregant personally at the opportune time.

Please use the below resources to learn more about the campaign.

To be successful, we will need everyone to join together to secure our tomorrow today. In the coming months, the entire congregation will be invited to participate in this historic campaign.

Pledges payable over a three-to-five year period allow donors to consider a more substantial commitment than is possible with one-time cash gifts. Gifts may be paid in monthly or annual installments over the pledge period. All gifts will be acknowledged on a prominent donor recognition wall. 

Securing Tomorrow Today

Donor Recognition Levels
$100,000+
$50,000+
$25,000+
$12,000+
$6,000+
Up to $6,000


If you would like to make a donation at this time, please click on the pledge card link below. The paper form can be mailed or dropped off at The Temple office.

Thank you for your support of the Securing Tomorrow Today campaign. Your gift today will help secure The Temple’s tomorrow.

If you have any other questions, please use the contact information provided.

Contact Us

For further information or questions, please contact:

Erin Zagnoev, Temple Director of Membership & Development
erin@templenashville.org

Find out how you can be part of this exciting effort!




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The Temple
Congregation Ohabai Sholom
5015 Harding Road
Nashville, TN 37205
615-352-7620
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www.templenashville.org

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