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We're considering our facility needs and how we can best meet them as we create a planned and sustainable future. We're discussing how the space we gather in to celebrate, pray, learn and socialize can best suit the needs of our “open tent” community by exploring two sets of possibilities -  reconfiguring our current Baseline campus and the possibility of moving to the Boulder Jewish Commons, adjacent to the Boulder JCC.

How can congregants share their voices? We have a tremendous opportunity to position Har HaShem for the coming decades. We want to hear how you think we should approach this decision. What are the considerations most important to informing this decision? Please let us know at buildingourfuture@harhashem.org.

FAQs

1. How did this initiative get started? Individuals affiliated with HHS initiated a meeting with Rabbi Greene, Alan Friedman, and Jim Edelman in July. They asked if we were interested in discussing a joint campus with Bonai Shalom at Boulder Jewish Commons. 
Rabbi Greene, Alan and Jim all felt that we should continue the discussion, and brought the issue to the Board. The Board agreed unanimously. Bonai Shalom’s Board also voted to begin discussions and we had our first meeting on August 19.


2. What are our options? One option is to continue as we have recently, to fix our facilities little by little in response to their deterioration. Second would be to upgrade our current facilities. Third  is to partner with Bonai Shalom on a new campus at the Boulder Jewish Commons. 
Here is a map that shows the Commons with three parcels - where the JCC is, where Bonai would move if it moved alone and the lot, part of which could accommodate both Har Hashem and Bonai.
The individuals who approached us are seriously considering a contingent capital commitment to support either a move to the Boulder Jewish Commons or to improve our existing facilities. This commitment could potentially be in the millions of dollars. However, with their interest in creating a sustainable facility for Har Hashem for the long term, the first option does not fit their idea.


3. What has changed since we last faced this question in 2006?  There are two significant differences. First, our congregation has doubled in size, and much of our membership has moved east. Second, the JCC has emerged as a critical component of Boulder Jewish Life. Their preschool is thriving, their farm provides food for the hungry, grows the foods mentioned in the Torah, and provides a myriad of volunteer opportunities. 


4. Why now? Our facilities are more than fifty years old and in need of repair and updating. The bathrooms and kitchens are not of sufficient size and have poor access. The aesthetics and lighting are poor. There is no view of the mountains, crossing the parking lot presents ongoing safety concerns. The list goes on.  
We could carry on as we are, but we would lose the opportunity for the potential capital contribution. We also have no guarantee that it would be available in the future even if we decided later either to upgrade our campus or build new at the Commons. 
Bonai is planning to move to the Commons with or without us. There might be synergies and savings if the synagogues joined forces that would not be available if either tried to build on its own.


5. How should we think about our decision? One way to frame it is in terms of what is best for the “body” and the “soul” of our congregation. 
The “body” refers to practical considerations: financial, architectural, and governance. How much will each option cost? How would the facilities compare? How would we manage shared spaces? We are working with the architectural firm RB+B to address these questions and can talk about that process. However, right now we will not have the answers to most questions in this area. 
The “soul” refers to how we can best connect with our current membership and reach more Jews in our community. Many Jews in Boulder County choose not to affiliate. Synagogues in general are in decline, and some are closing. How will we remain relevant for the next thirty years? Would we be better off on our current campus, or in a community with Bonai and the JCC?


6. What is the timeline? After gathering the architectural, financial, governance and other information necessary, and sharing this information with the Congregation, the Task Force will make a recommendation to the Board. The Board will in turn make a recommendation to the Congregation. The Congregation will then vote at a special meeting. 
If we vote to partner with Bonai Shalom we will not immediately sign a binding legal document, but will enter into the equivalent of a “Memorandum of Understanding” that will set up a process to work out the details of governance, financing, and physical spaces - both what they would be and how the two congregations would use them.  Only after working out these details would we sign a legal agreement.

7. What about food and kitchen facilities? Food is of course extremely important. The rabbis and leadership are in early discussions  to develop policies where both congregations would be comfortable. We are also looking at ways to design a joint facility so that it would provide flexibility in this area. There are also options to have separate facilities. Either way, we want to address what makes each of our synagogue’s comfortable while respecting how each practices Judaism.  


8. Does Bonai Shalom need HHS’s money to complete this project? No. Bonai Shalom is prepared to proceed on their own if we do not choose to partner with them. It is clear to us that Bonai Shalom has an active and extremely charitable membership.


9. Has the leadership of HHS already decided which option they support? Absolutely not. We do not yet have enough information to make that judgment, and we are going forward with an open mind. The board does recognize that it is our fiduciary responsibility to be open to facts and discussions so we can make a smart decision on next steps.


10. If we partner with Boani Shalom, will HHS become more Conservative? Absolutely not. We respect each other and how each practices Judaism. We will keep our autonomy and remain a Reform Synagogue. Bonai Shalom will keep their autonomy and remain a Conservative Congregation. This has been the bedrock of all our discussions. 

Bonai Shalom's Communications

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783