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Update

10/21/2022 02:09:45 PM

Oct21

Melinda Kassen

L’Shana Tovah! I hope everyone had a joyous and meaningful holiday season. 

A few weeks ago, our President, Jim Edelman, and Rabbi Greene told you about a wonderful opportunity to consider our facility needs and how we can best meet them as we move into a planned and sustainable future. I am writing as chair of Har HaShem’s Building Our Future Task Force to keep you up to date on this process.  
 
First, I want to assure you that Building Our Future (BOF) builds on the Strategic Visioning process Har HaShem has invested in over the last two years. The Strategic Vision Task Force, a diverse group of 15 congregants, donated hours of time and expertise to research the current scene and listen to over 100 congregants through formal interviews and surveys. They articulated possibilities for who and how Har HaShem should be in our next chapter. Here's a short summary of their findings: Summary of HHS Strategic Vision.

Now, our Building Our Future Task Force (see below for membership) is excited to have a chance to think about how the space we gather in to celebrate, pray, learn and socialize can best suit the needs of our “open tent” community. We are tasked with doing the heavy-lifting of deeply understanding our options and the needs, preferences and priorities of Congregation Har HaShem. We are exploring two sets of possibilities -  the possibility of moving jointly with Bonai Shalom to the Boulder Jewish Commons, adjacent to the Boulder JCC, as well as how we might redevelop our current Baseline campus.

Our Task Force will work on several parallel tracks for the next month to continue listening and gathering information. These include continuing to gather feedback from a representative group of the congregation as to our physical needs, now and in the future, the meetings with architects described below, assessing the value of our Baseline property and the costs of building new facilities.

Earlier this month, we held four Listening Sessions where congregants spoke from their hearts about their relationship to our present campus and hopes and fears about relocating.  We have also reached out to a subset of members to hear their thoughts about our facility needs. Our BOF Task Force has been meeting with the architecture firm RB+B, designers of the Boulder JCC, to assess our space needs for the future, regardless of where we are. Today [October 21st], we had our first joint meeting with Bonai, a delegation from the JCC, several representatives from the Oreg Foundation (which owns the land at the Commons) and the architect to kick off a month-long “Charette” process to brainstorm options for sharing a facility on Boulder Jewish Commons.

 As part of this month-long process, we will explore both the operational economies and opportunities that sharing some spaces could provide. Also, depending on the outcome of our charette process, we will begin work with Bonai Shalom to address governance issues. Finally, Rabbi Greene and Bonai Shalom’s Rabbi Marc Soloway had a positive and productive initial meeting, and have shared enthusiasm about the project and its potential.

The results of all this meeting and research will be our ability to present options to YOU, our congregants - options with dollar estimates and pros and cons thought out and succinctly articulated. It is our intention to give you data, context and time to consider. At this point, we plan to make some initial recommendations to Har HaShem’s Board of Trustees at the end of February. I have confidence that we will have enough information to present to the Board and congregation by that time.  

We will keep you well informed.  If you have questions or concerns, please email us at buildingourfuture@harhashem.org.

Looking forward to hearing from you. 
-Melinda 

Har HaShem’s Building Our Future Task Force:  Melinda Kassen, Chair, Gil Rudawsky, Dan Cohen, Marianne Balin, Jim Brantz, Josh Zapin and Alan Friedman, Executive Director of HHS

Building Plans

08/26/2022 09:37:31 AM

Aug26

We are excited to share some news! As some of you know, Har HaShem has been thinking for a while about how to bring our facilities up to date. They were built almost sixty years ago and are in great need of improvement. By addressing this need, we could also further our strategic vision of fostering connections and create a more inclusive  home. 

To this end, we have begun conversations to explore the possibility of relocating to a joint campus with Bonai Shalom at the Boulder Jewish Commons on land next to the Boulder JCC. This project could increase the sustainability of both Har HaShem and the broader Boulder Jewish Community for generations to come. 

This is not a  merger with Bonai Shalom. Each synagogue would retain its unique identity and new worship space, while we explore the possibility of shared spaces, such as the entrance, meeting rooms, outdoor areas and parking. The Boards and clergy of both synagogues have agreed to engage in this process with open hearts and minds. Here is a link to the statement to their congregation. 

Melinda Kassen, a Vice President of our Board of Directors, is heading a task force to explore Har HaShem’s options, put together a timeline and create a process for this discussion. She is joined by Marianne Balin, our Immediate Past President, Dan Cohen, a 30-year professional in real estate investment and development, Gil Rudawsky, Board Member and a public relations professional, and Har HaShem e and Executive Director Alan Friedman. Bonai Shalom is represented by Jeff Gan Levy, Gary Jacobs, and Bruce Wildman. The group held its first exploratory meeting on August 19. This meeting was facilitated by JCC Executive Director Jonathan Lev, Susan Rona, a philanthropic consultant and Har HaShem member, and Julie Schaffer, Executive Director of the Oreg Foundation. 

The joint group will be assisted by RB+B, the architects of the Boulder JCC. The firm will aid us in a month-long  process to develop different possible variations of a joint campus. These discussions will start the second week of October. 

Starting next month, RB+B will also work separately with the Har HaShem task force and other Har HaShem members to examine alternatives including upgrading our current buildings or building something new on our existing campus. Our goal is to create the best long-term solution for the physical needs of our community. Bonai Shalom will continue its ongoing process of evaluating a synagogue of its own at the Boulder Jewish Commons. 

As we work through this process we will address at least the following questions:

  • What are the benefits and risks of a joint move?
  • What are the potential synergies and cost savings?
  • What are the costs and benefits for Har HaShem to remain at its current campus and how do they compare to the option of moving jointly to the Commons?
  • If both synagogues want to move forward together, what does the timeline and process look like?

We know that you will have many additional questions. We also anticipate that this exploration will give rise to many emotions, including excitement and inspiration as well as doubt and uncertainty. We are committed to communicating at each step of this process and to addressing your questions and concerns. 

The task force will report to the Board, which will in turn vote on a recommendation to the Congregation in approximately six months. This will be followed by a special meeting of the congregation. All members will have the opportunity to be heard and to vote. 

We will keep you informed as the process moves forward. While our communication strategy is still being formed, it will include at least one town hall meeting to discuss our work with the architects, a dedicated page on our website that will provide updates, information and documents generated during the various conversations, and a number of smaller gatherings. In the meantime, if you wish to express your questions, comments, or concerns, please email us at buildingourfuture@harhashem.org


Sincerely,
Rabbi Greene
Jim Edelman, President of the Board of Trustees
 

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783