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Bye Bye 2020(and Good Riddance!!)

01/17/2021 12:29:23 PM

Jan17

Mike Schneider

When I took over as your treasurer in July of 2019, CBE had a solid financial foundation and was sailing along smoothly. Little did I know what was to transpire in 2020. To say the least, this past year has been a challenge for everyone in many aspects of our lives. We have had to deal with furloughs and loss of jobs, cancelled vacations, fear of catching COVID, recuperating from COVID, dealing with the loss of family members and friends, social isolation, teaching our kids at home, shortages of flour and toilet paper and limited ability to dine out. And, skiing/boarding with a mask on!! OY VEH!!!

Needless to say, CBE has not been spared and we have had our own set of COVID challenges. This is not the first time as a treasurer that I have had to deal with issues that have negatively impacted the finances of a synagogue. When I was living in New Hampshire, I served as treasurer of my synagogue during the  2008 financial crisis. We adapted and survived. I am pleased to be a part of the team here at CBE that has been dealing with how to keep CBE thriving, not only financially, but maintaining social connections, as well. As I write this article, it is the first day of Chanukah, and last night’s Zoom for the candle lighting was a perfect example of the creativity CBE has employed to  help to maintain our social connections. It was wonderful seeing almost 40 computer connections with happy faces, folks lighting Chanukiahs in unison and singing songs together. 

From the financial side of things, your board formulated several possible budgets for the year to anticipate, best and worst-case scenarios. We settled on a “Realistic Budget” which was reviewed in October.  I am pleased to report that although we have lost some members due to financial hardship and relocations out of the area, we have several new members join CBE and, so far midway through our fiscal year, we are on track and able to meet our financial demands. We have been proactive in trimming our expenses and finding new ways to develop revenue. One example of new revenue has been the development of a new membership category, our Long-Distance Digital membership for those residing over 50 miles from CBE or in other states. 

At the same time, to keep CBE viable during COVID and in the future, we need to invest in our online broadcast capability and upgrade our  Wi-Fi capability in the building to enhance reliability. We have already upgraded certain parts of our audiovisual system and are exploring options for improved internet and Wi-Fi service. This will be important not only during COVID, but long after the COVID threat subsides as we build our digital offerings and membership base. We also need to expand our capacity for outdoor services and events and desire to  construct an outdoor amphitheater (in phases). 

Of course, all these enhancements come at a cost. While a significant portion of our income currently comes from membership dues, there is also a very significant portion of our income that is derived from donations. This is not something that is unique to CBE, as I experienced the same phenomenon at my previous synagogue, and I know that it is the case at synagogues across the country. Therefore, as we say goodbye to 2020 and begin what we pray is a better 2021, if you are able, please consider making an extra donation to CBE to help us with these initiatives. As a reminder, donations can include shares of stock that have appreciated (which would mitigate capital gains and the taxes you would pay) or Required Minimum Distributions from your retirement account (which would reduce your tax liability). Finally, you can also make a commitment to our Legacy Society to help us build our endowment, from which annual interest contributes to our operating expenses. 

May 2021 be Happy and Healthy and a year when we can all gather again in person at CBE.

Mon, April 12 2021 30 Nisan 5781