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From the President


From the President

John N. Louie

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John Louie grew up in Southern California, where his parents had been Israeli folk dancing since 1962. He started Israeli dancing 32 years ago while working on his PhD at Caltech's Seismo Lab. He married Neva Donovan 30 years ago; she is a family physician. Recruited to the University of Nevada, Reno in 1992, John teaches geophysics at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, doing research in energy exploration and earthquake hazards. John and Neva began attending Sinai services in 1999, with both of their children Anna and Ben becoming B'nei Mitzvah at Sinai. First joining the Sinai Board in 2001 as Secretary, John subsequently converted with Rabbi Soifer.


Temple Sinai’s Future

Written by // John N. Louie Categories // 2018 Posts

You have all heard the great news that Rabbis Benjamin and Sara Zober have signed a contract to share Temple Sinai’s rabbinic leadership position for the next three years. I want to share with you the tremendous enthusiasm for Sinai that they have expressed during the whole time we have been talking to them. As soon as they found out about us, we were their first choice. Sinai’s leadership shares that enthusiasm. As soon as we met the Zobers, they became our first choice. In a field of great candidates, they rose to the top. Our hardworking Rabbinic Search committee, who has my deepest thanks, voted unanimously to recommend the Rabbis Zober to Sinai’s Board of Trustees. Our Board, as well, voted unanimously to offer the position to the Zobers. The mutual enthusiasm continued right through the exploration of contract terms, and the signing of the contract. For the next three years at least, the Rabbis Zober will be leading us, and advancing Temple Sinai’s future, with great enthusiasm.

I know that many of us, despite our enthusiasm, are feeling more than a little worried about Temple Sinai’s financial position. It is a fact that our donations and membership commitments have not been enough to cover all our costs- even though our operating budget is very lean. (It would make for some pretty dry and stringy pastrami.) Your Sinai Board and committees are paying very close attention to fundraising and operating costs. One piece of good news- all of the costs for our rabbinic leadership by the Zobers next year will not amount to any more than Rabbi Bair’s leadership cost us this year! More good news- the philanthropy fund we established recently has attracted very generous donations, and is growing. Over the next couple of months, you will be hearing about new dues policies and procedures from our Finance Committee. So please stay tuned.

All of us in Sinai’s leadership are very firm on one thing: no one will ever be excluded from Sinai because of an inability to pay. We don’t want membership in our synagogue to bankrupt anyone. If you value being a member of Sinai, and are willing to make a commitment appropriate to your means, you will be a full and valued Member!



Summary of January 28 Congregational Forum

Written by // John N. Louie Categories // 2018 Posts

The Temple Sinai Board and about 30 members and friends came together for a Congregational Forum on Sunday January 28th. The purpose of the Forum was to share information about our Temple and encourage dialog among congregants and the Board. Robert Dickens, chair of the Rabbinic Search Committee, first described the state our search. More than a dozen candidates have applied. The search committee deemed most not to be a good fit, but they have and will continue to review resumes, conduct Skype interviews, and invite candidates who may be a fit to visit Temple Sinai.

Then Financial Officer Jay Goldberg reviewed the financial state of the synagogue, showing revenues (pledges and other contributions) and expense totals from the current year as well as three prior years. Although expenses have remained remarkably consistent year-to-year, we have had, and continue to have, a shortfall in pledges which results in Temple Sinai losing money every year. We expect to have a deficit again this year, but Strategic Philanthropy donations will help to close the gap.

Currently, we allow a member to pay whatever amount they wish. However, in order to ensure that Temple Sinai is able to serve the Northern Nevada Jewish population for many years to come, we will need to develop a required pledge structure. Anyone who cannot afford the required pledge amount will be able to meet confidentially with a member or two of the Finance Committee to determine a pledge amount that the member can afford. We will not turn anyone away because of an inability to meet the required pledge amount. The Finance Committee, with help from the Financial Advisory Council, will be examining proposals to revise the pledge structure and will bring a proposal to the Board in the spring.



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