Acting Executive Director & Education Director: The Role of a Lifetime

Shari Churwin

When I watched the Emmy’s a few weeks ago, I was struck by all of the thank-you’s. Every actor, writer, director, costume designer – their first reaction was to say thank you to everyone who supported them along the way. It was clear that none of them could have achieved their success without a team.

I love the idea of a team. I am a firm believer that everything is easier when we work together – maybe that’s from my years of summer camp experience or maybe I learned this here at Temple Ohabei Shalom. I’ve been at TOS in one aspect or another since the spring of 1996 (over 23 years), and one of my biggest lessons is that we are most successful when we work as a team – when we communicate, support, and care about one another. In fact, I end all of my meetings with “Go Team!” as both a thank-you and a way to inspire us.

And now, I’m about to enter into another new role at TOS. Being the Acting Executive Director & Education Director might be the closest I ever get to the Emmy’s, but it feels like the role of a lifetime for me. I am excited by the challenge of this six month appointment and am delighted to step into this new role. In my years at TOS, I’ve learned practically every aspect of the community, the building, the staff, and the people and this new combined role will help to streamline some of the synagogue’s essential administrative functions and help our community fulfill our vision. My office will remain on the third floor, in the education office, so that I can be present for the children and teachers and have my finger on the pulse of our schools.

I know this is yet another transition for us here at Temple Ohabei Shalom. However, we are a strong and resilient community with an entrepreneurial spirt. The Clergy, Co-Presidents, representatives of the new HR Committee (as mandated by our new TOS bylaws) and I have been working behind the scenes to prepare and ensure that all of our bases are covered in the coming weeks and months.

And the Emmy goes to … our wonderful and capable staff. Many of our talented staff members have agreed to help in new ways:

  • You will find Naomi Fisher in the TOS office supporting our clergy and helping with marketing and special events. Karen Landman is a welcoming presence each afternoon in the synagogue office.
  • Stacey Boisvert is the newest member of our team. Please be in touch with her to schedule event and room rentals. In addition to her duties as a HomeBASE Lead Teacher, Stacey will be helping to ensure that Shabbat B’yachad, holiday celebrations and other signature events run like clockwork.
  • Amy Deutsch, ARS Director, will oversee our communications strategies ensuring that we are effectively getting our message out.
  • In addition to her usual responsibilities, Amelia Cochin, TCEE Assistant Director, will help us develop and operationalize our membership protocols and programs so that we can increase member connection and commitment to TOS programs and services and ensure the member experience is consistent and integrated.
  • Richard Gopie, TOS Bookkeeper, is available to help with billing and ARS/HomeBASE tuition questions.
  • One cannot forget about our amazing facility team, led by David Stewart.

Today, with our amazing clergy, we are making a planful, purposeful decision to explore new leadership models. Before we search for new leadership staff, we would like to have sufficient time to clarify our needs and structure before committing to a permanent staff arrangement. This will allow for time to look back at what has worked and to dream and plan for the future of TOS.

There is much to be done. Our team will not be successful without your support. I am looking forward to working with many in the community in the challenging months ahead and together dreaming of what the future can hold. Ohabei Shalom has a special place in my heart so I am pleased to step into this role once again. Thank you for believing in me.

As always, I am available via phone or email if you have any questions or concerns.