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to be an issue everywhere he has
Over the years he has seen a
change in where that money
comes from. With new tax laws
that make it less attractive for
people to contribute to non-prof-
it organizations, many syna-
gogues have experienced a
decrease in donations, he says.
Traditional fund-raising tech-
niques have become less and less
effective, Mr. Jablonski says. En-
dowment campaigns and grants
have emerged as alternative
sources of synagogue income.
Temple Beth El, for example,
is in the midst of a $7.5 million
endowment campaign. During his
tenure at Shaarey Zedek, Mr.
Jablonski worked on that syna-
gogue's $10 million campaign.
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closely with many synagogue
leaders, and consequently puts in
very long hours.
By 3 p.m. on a typical Tuesday
afternoon, he had already met
with the communication direc-
tor to proof the monthly newslet-
ter, helped the religious school
director prepare an agenda for
that night's meeting, talked with
the sisterhood about a policy
decision, discussed the previous
night's event with the caterer,
consulted with the president
about transition plans for the
new administration, and met
with the synagogue's account-
ant to prepare for next year's
Those responsibilities are com-
mon to most synagogue execu-
tives. For this reason, they have
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Mr. Jablonski cautions that
such emphasis on funding means
that the synagogue's business can
sometimes conflict with religion.
Administrators must help main-
tain balance and perspective.
Alan Yost, executive director of
Mat Shalom Synagogue in Farm-
ington Hills, agrees: "You can nev-
er lose sight of the fact that it is
still a synagogue."
At Adat Shalom, as with many
other congregations, the rabbi is
responsible for Halachah, Jewish
law, while the congregants set the
policies. It is the executive direc-
tor's responsibility to implement
Carrying out the business of an
organization whose president
changes every two years can be
quite a challenge, Emanu-Ers Ms.
"It's sort of a complicated rela-
tionship between the staff and the
lay leadership," she says. "We
work for the lay leaders, but we
also advise them."
Adds Mr. Yost, "You get used
to the transitional process." He,
too, works with anew president
every two years. Fortunately,
presidents tend to come from the
synagogue's executive committee,
and are already familiar with syn-
"I'm the constant," Mr. Yost
says. As the liaison with a multi-
tude of committees, he works
formed a local "trade organiza-
tion," the Council of Synagogue
and Temple Administrators. The
15- year-old Council meets quar-
terly to discuss issues such as
membership outreach and reten-
tion, special programs, and op-
portunities for cooperative
ventures, including speakers and
National organizations also ex-
ist to support synagogue profes-
sionals. These include the Reform
movement's National Association
of Temple Administrators and the
Conservative movement's North
American Association of Syna-
The Department of Synagogue
Management at the Union of
American Hebrew Congregations
(Reform) also supports its mem-
Joseph Bernstein, the depart-
ment's director, says, "Sometimes
boards of trustees don't function
too well." In such cases, the
temple administrator might
call on the UAHC to intervene
with a leadership development
Mr. Jablonski finds that peo-
ple issues, such as Mr. Bernstein
describes, can be the most criti-
cal when it comes to making a
synagogue run smoothly.
"You have to be a people per-
son first," he says. "A synagogue's
business is its members." El