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Statement to the Community

March 13, 2024


In the wake of our recent town hall meetings on March 12th, we extend our deepest gratitude for your active participation and the honest feedback shared. These discussions have been invaluable for us as we navigate through a period that calls for reflection, understanding, and decisive action towards improvement. Through this communication, we aim to summarize the concerns you've raised, articulate our immediate responses, and outline our future direction, grounded in our shared values and the collective vision for our community.


The many concerns we heard and discussed are as follows (in no particular order, as they are all important and vital in our pivot forward):


1. Transparency and Inclusiveness

A common thread in the feedback we received was the desire for more transparency and inclusiveness in the structure and decision-making processes of our board. We understand the importance of reflecting our community's diversity and needs in every decision we make and commit to reviewing our board's composition and governance practices accordingly. We pledge to a more extensive consultation process with our community on significant decisions, ensuring that our actions going forward are more aligned with the expectations and values of our members.


2. Safety & Security

The safety and security of our physical and digital spaces have emerged as paramount concerns. We have already taken steps to enhance our physical security measures and are in the process of conducting a comprehensive review of our cyber security policies to protect our community's integrity. We acknowledge the importance of being prepared to address potential security threats and are committed to implementing the necessary improvements to ensure our community's safety.


3. Accountability

Accountability for both past and future actions was another significant area of concern. We recognize the need for clear accountability mechanisms regarding leadership decisions, especially those that have led to recent events. To address this, we are establishing a transparent review and reporting process for decisions made by our leadership, ensuring that our community is kept informed about the actions taken and the reasons behind them.


4. Potential Campus Sale

The potential sale of our south campus and the criteria and process for renting our facilities to outside organizations were topics that also garnered much attention. We want to assure you that any decisions regarding the sale of the campus will be made with the utmost consideration for our community's needs and future, involving transparent communication and community input throughout the process. Similarly, our rental policies are being reviewed to ensure they align more closely with our values and security requirements, with a commitment to involving community input in future decisions.


5. Improved Communication

Communication within our community was highlighted as an area needing significant improvement. We are dedicated to enhancing our communication channels and strategies, focusing on transparent, timely, and two-way communication. Through regular updates, feedback mechanisms, and open forums for discussion, we aim to ensure that all voices are heard and considered in the direction our community takes.


6. Leadership Change

We must also share that our co-presidents have tendered their resignations from their positions. This decision comes in the wake of the challenges and introspection our congregation is currently undergoing. We extend our deepest gratitude to them for their dedicated service, leadership, and the immeasurable contributions they have made to our community during their tenure. Their commitment to HAMAKOM has fostered a spirit of unity and growth, and while we respect their decision, they will be greatly missed in their roles.


As a result, we are announcing the appointment of an interim president, Paula Russell, who will guide us through this period of organizational reflection and change. Her appointment has been made with careful consideration, ensuring that our community continues to have strong leadership during these transformative times. She brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of our community's values and needs. Her primary focus will be on navigating the current challenges, spearheading the necessary organizational changes, and laying the groundwork for a robust governance structure that aligns with our values of transparency, inclusiveness, and accountability.


We are confident that under Paula Russell's interim leadership, we will continue to make strides in addressing the immediate concerns of our congregation while also working diligently to strengthen our organizational practices for the long term. This period of transition offers us an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the principles that have always defined us as a community, ensuring that we emerge stronger, more unified, and more resilient.


7. Moving Forward Together

A profound sense of empathy and the expression of genuine apologies were identified as critical in this period. We want to reiterate our deep apologies for any distress or confusion caused by our actions and decisions. We are committed to leading with empathy, acknowledging our shortcomings, and taking decisive steps to address the concerns raised by our community with sincerity and consideration.


We acknowledge the importance of enhancing the clarity, transparency, and inclusivity of how decisions are made within our leadership and community. We recognize that effective decision-making involves not only the outcomes but also the processes by which these decisions are reached. Moving forward, we commit to involving a broader spectrum of our community in these processes, ensuring that diverse perspectives are considered and that our actions reflect the collective wisdom and values of HAMAKOM.


We understand the magnitude of the task ahead and the urgency for action. Our commitment to rebuilding trust, enhancing governance, and ensuring the safety and well-being of our community is unwavering. We are grateful for your continued support and dedication to our community and welcome ongoing dialogue and participation as we take these critical steps forward.


Together, we will work towards healing, unity, and a vibrant future for HAMAKOM.



Tue, April 16 2024 8 Nisan 5784