High Holiday Brief Survey

Congregation Beth Shalom is in a period of transition. During the past year, we have hired a new Executive Director, Development Director and interim Director of Derekh and Youth Tefilah. Our long-time Cemetery Director and High Holiday seating coordinator has retired and we are currently in the process of searching for an Assistant Rabbi, who we hope will join us sometime this summer.

Rabbi Adelson, the Religious Services Committee and the Board of Trustees thought this would be a good time to evaluate some issues related to the High Holidays. Each year, they, along with the Executive Committee and Beth Shalom staff and volunteers, spend months preparing for and making these three days run smoothly, while trying to provide a meaningful experience for everyone.

They would like to get your input on some important questions. When answering this brief survey, please consider what will work best for the congregation as a whole. Your answers will remain anonymous. The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete, and will help our leadership determine whether any changes should be considered for next year. Thank you in advance for your time and input on these questions.

High Holiday Service Leaders

We know that we have some members who prefer to have a professional cantor lead the High Holiday services and others who prefer that these services be led by our deep bench of lay volunteers. For the last three years, Rabbi Adelson (himself an ordained cantor) has led Kol Nidre and Yizkor, while the remaining services have been led by our lay volunteers. In years prior to that, we tried to balance these competing positions in various ways. There is no solution to this question that will please everyone. Given this, please indicate your preferences for next year’s High Holiday service leadership (do not consider cost):

High Holiday Seats

Many years ago, the congregation “sold” High Holiday seats to interested congregants. Those seats are marked with plaques bearing the names of the purchasers. Beth Shalom will continue to honor former arrangements with members who own seats. For other congregants, our practice was to assign seats based on specific seating requests. Assigning seats took a significant amount of time and effort for our former seating coordinator, along with additional time for the office staff to print out and mail tickets with seat numbers. Currently, there are no plans to hire anyone for the role of seating coordinator. This past year, we experimented with having people select their own seats upon arrival (open seating). This seemed to work well and the Floor Gabbaim were able to find everyone with an honor and guide them to the front of the Sanctuary at the proper time. How would you prefer that Beth Shalom manage seating next year?

High Holiday Honors

For years, the “major” High Holiday honors (aliyot, certain ark openings) have been assigned to those members who have made significant contributions to the synagogue through financial support or volunteering and volunteer leadership. Other honors have been distributed through the congregation with a focus on certain groups, such as new members. An alternative would be to assign the honors randomly, such as by starting at the beginning of the alphabet and proceeding through so that, over the course of a few years, everyone would be offered an honor. How would you prefer that Beth Shalom assign High Holiday honors next year?
Please provide any other thoughts or suggestions you have about High Holiday services:

Brief Demographic Information

Please take a moment to answer the following questions about yourself.