Temple Israel membership committee should maintain a list of people who will volunteer to mentor new member families. Minimum obligation of mentors will be to:
When a new person joins a community, especially such a large and active community as Temple Israel, it is often hard to get oriented. Rather than leaving new members to flounder around unaided, I hope that assigning a mentor to each new family will ease the transition and improve the comfort level of new members in the community.
Such a program could have a number of benefits to the community:
1. Making a list of mentors -- people in the membership committee should consult with the synagogue administration as to the best way to publicize this initiative to the membership at large. Perhaps an announcement in the bulletin, followed up by a phone call campaign to get volunteers.
2. Mentor preferences -- some people will not want to host a family with very young children, others may prefer to mentor people of their own generation (under-30 with other under-30, over-60 with other over-60, etc.). The committee should note these kinds of preferences and make efforts to honor them when possible. The committee should also note mentor families who are willing to host shomer shabbat/kosher members.
3. A letter should be prepared and mailed out to the new family, with a copy to the mentor family. Ideally the letter should go out within a short time after the new family has joined. The letter should specify:
Upon receipt of this letter, the mentor family should contact the new family and make arrangements to host the new family on Shabbat. The mentor should also offer to answer questions about the Temple Israel community over the phone.
1. What if the new family isn't interested? The initial phone call would be enough. The mentor should remind the new family that should they have any questions in the future that they should call.
2. What if the new family is shomer shabbat or kosher but the mentor is not? The mentor family should say that they will make arrangements to have them assigned to a more appropriate mentor.
3. What if schedules don't connect between the 2 families and a Shabbat meal doesn't work out? The mentor family should invite the new members for some other meal if possible. If not, then the phone call would be enough.
4. What if there are many new members and not enough mentors? Certain people would be asked by the membership committee to take on an extra family.
5. What if there are more mentors than new members? The program should be extended to members who joined within the past few years -- it is still appropriate to welcome people in this way, even if they've been a member for a year or two.
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