September 13, 2023 Message

Dear Temple Friends & Family,

I wish you the very best for a meaningful High Holiday season. Over the last several months, we, along with a team from Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple (Fairmount Temple/ACFT), have been exploring potential opportunities to collaborate. We are excited to share where we are in the exploration process and discuss our vision and areas of alignment.

Both The Temple-Tifereth Israel and Fairmount Temple have engaged congregations and robust organizations. We are similar in size and membership demographics. And, importantly, we share the desire to ensure a strong future for our congregations and Reform Judaism in the Greater Cleveland community.

The first phase of our exploratory work is complete, and it has been very informative and promising. While no decisions have been made, both our task force and the task force from Fairmount Temple are encouraged and we want to share an inspiring vision for the future with you.

We envision an innovative, multi-generational congregation that warmly welcomes everyone and ignites engagement through robust offerings as a vibrant, spiritual community. We see strong potential to invest in new models to learn and grow while supporting our existing members. We seek to sustain inspiring physical spaces that honor our legacy. We want to inspire future generations through robust educational offerings as a pathway to engagement and spirituality. We can expand meaningful worship experiences that inspire community members who choose Reform Judaism as part of their Jewish journey. And we can create spaces and opportunities where people comfortably belong, no matter where they are on a Jewish journey.

We have determined that there is great potential to achieve this vision if we were to combine the strength of our current membership and resources with that of Fairmount Temple, moving forward as one, unified congregation. Yesterday, we presented this vision to our Board of Directors, along with the following practical areas of alignment that we have identified.

If we were to move forward with unification, the joint TTTI/ACFT task force recommends:

  • A single team of clergy, led by Rabbi Robert (Rob) Nosanchuk (currently Senior Rabbi at Fairmount), would serve the combined needs of our collective membership and the new unified congregation. His tenure in that position would begin on July 1, 2024. The clergy team would include members from both temples:

o   Rabbi Joshua Caruso (Fairmount Temple)

o   Rabbi Yael Dadoun (TTTI)

o   Rabbi Roger Klein (TTTI)

o   Rabbi Elle Muhlbaum (Fairmount Temple)

o   Rabbi Richard A. Block, Senior Rabbi Emeritus (TTTI)

o   Cantor Vladimir Lapin (Fairmount Temple)

o   Cantor Kathryn Wolfe Sebo (TTTI)

o   Cantor Laureate Sarah Sager (Fairmount Temple)

  • A single physical home at the current The Temple-Tifereth Israel Beachwood location would best serve our collective membership. Based on our review, it is best equipped to accommodate the needs of a potential unified congregation from a facilities standpoint.
  • A single religious school and early childhood program would have the ability to serve the collective membership.
  • A single, unified operation with one executive director would support the new entity.
  • A single, unified Board and governance structure would serve the combined needs of the new entity.
  • An intention to unify the utilization of all financial assets in the future.

Having identified these areas of alignment, we are now expanding our evaluation process. This starts with getting feedback from you, our congregation.

We want to share information with you directly about what the joint task force has accomplished, gather your input, answer your questions, and share what still needs to be done to determine our best path forward.

We hope you will join us at an upcoming informational meeting. Please click here to RSVP.  If none of the dates below work for you or you would prefer a conversation, please just let me know and I will contact you.

  • Post-Oneg on Friday, September 22 from 7 – 8 pm, at The Temple (in-person only)
  • Bagel Breakfast on Sunday, September 24 from 10:30 – 11:30 am at The Temple (in-person only)
  • Post-Torah Study on Saturday, September 30 from 11 am to 12 pm at The Temple (in-person only)
  • Post Oneg on Friday, October 6 from 7 – 9 pm at The Temple (in-person only)
  • Virtual via Zoom (please RSVP and we will send you the link) on Wednesday, October 18 from 7 – 8 pm

Following these meetings, we will be conducting further due diligence. We will continue to update the congregation on the common themes, frequently asked questions, and next steps.

We know that this recommendation represents the potential for a significant change for our community, and that you may have many questions. Please know that our task force has taken this responsibility very seriously and we believe that this is a tremendous opportunity to create a bright future for our congregation and for Reform Judaism.

We look forward to talking with you at our informational meetings.

L’shana Tova,

Beth Dery
The Temple-Tifereth Israel Board President