Temple Beth-El

Visioning Updates

Thank you for your incredible dedication to Temple Beth-El.

We are deeply grateful that our community is passionately committed to creating a robust life within our synagogue for the future. We stand on the shoulders of the generations of congregants that came before us, who built and sustained this community for nearly 100 years. Together, we have enabled Temple Beth-El of Great Neck to be the warm, close-knit, and inclusive Reform community we are today.   

With a strong sense of duty to our proud history, your elected leadership of Temple Beth-El recently began a process to envision our congregation’s future and the role we can play in helping to shape the future of pluralistic Judaism in our area. 

Our vision is for Temple Beth-El to remain a vibrant center of Reform Jewish life in Great Neck for many years to come.

Timeline and Communications

Our Visioning Team began its work in October 2023 with a two-day retreat. One day also included the Board of Trustees. Since then, the committee has held weekly meetings to discuss progress toward our quarterly goals, keep the process moving forward, and ensure accountability. Smaller groups of the committee have focused on finances, opportunities for partnership and synergies, space-needs analysis, membership trends and demography, and more. Our team holds a day-long retreat each quarter to review our progress, set goals for the next quarter, and align our next steps with our Vivid Vision. A monthly update to the membership about the Visioning efforts is planned.

Links to congregational emails about Visioning

Our Visioning Committee

My wife, Leslie, and I have been members of TBE since 1975. I was honored to serve as president from 2001 until 2006 and led the temple through the reconstruction and restoration after the disastrous 2001 fire; Leslie was president from 2009 to 2013 and led us out of a major financial crisis. We have both been devoted leaders for decades and currently serve on the Executive Committee. I am happy to be helping to secure our future.

I was president of TBE for seven years – holding one of the lengthiest presidencies in the temple’s 96-year history. After a long career in the corporate world, I am now the director of development at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in NYC. I am a lifelong New Yorker, have been married to Sharon for more than 30 years and am the proud father to two adult sons, Matthew and David.

My wife, Marcie, and I have been members of TBE since 2011. We were attracted by and continue to be connected to the communal, educational and spiritual values of TBE’s clergy and its members. I have served on TBE’s board and Executive Committee and was a past president of my former congregation. I am actively involved with a number of nonprofit entities and understand that change, while sometimes challenging, helps us flourish.

For the past 70 years, my family has been part of the TBE community. My decades of spiritual connection to our temple, as well as my leadership as a past treasurer and president of TBE, enables me to bring a unique perspective as we create a vision for TBE’s future. I know you and respect you, and I am excited to be part of creating a vision for TBE’s future. I bring a unique perspective – honoring our past, reaffirming our goals as a preeminent Reform congregation and envisioning our future as we confront current challenges and opportunities.

I joined Temple Beth-El just eight to nine years ago. I had belonged to synagogues my whole life but never really felt engaged until I came here. In this short time, I became a Friday night regular, went through three or four years of Torah Study, became an adult Bat Mitzvah and have had three grandchildren attend the Early Childhood Education Center. I am an active volunteer with Times of Need/Chesed and am currently involved in the visioning group. Two years ago, I traveled down South with Rabbi Tara Feldman and other TBE congregants on a Civil Rights tour, which was inspirational and transformational. In many ways, Temple Beth-El has changed my life.

I have been a member of TBE for more than 22 years. From the moment my family and I joined, Temple Beth-El of Great Neck quickly became our home. We sent our children to the ECEC and religious school; we have had many life-cycle events at TBE; and we have been involved in so many fulfilling ways. I have served on and chaired numerous committees, am currently the executive VP and will become the next Temple Beth-El of Great Neck president. I am committed to our synagogue, our members and to the principles of Reform Judaism that guide us. I am honored to be a part of our visioning committee as we work to envision our future.

I’m a full-time mom and doctor, and part-time dedicated vice president of Temple Beth-El. I love Temple Beth-El for its Reform Jewish spiritual connection and, most importantly, for the amazing friendships and connections with temple members and clergy that I have made in my 10+ years of membership. To this end, I primarily help with temple membership, engagement and organizing many social and fundraising events for TBE.

A lifelong Great Neck resident, my wife, Debbie, and I have been enthusiastic members of TBE for more than 20 years. Our three children were educated and became B’nei Mitzvah at TBE. I am grateful for the opportunity to support TBE and give back to the congregation.

Melissa and I joined Temple Beth-El more than 20 years ago when our oldest daughter started in TBE’s Early Childhood Education Center. We considered joining other temples, but the energy and inviting atmosphere for young families drew us to Beth-El. I have served in numerous leadership roles at TBE and will be completing my term as president in May. By day, I am a trial-law attorney, in practice for nearly 30 years. Melissa and I have three daughters.

I joined Temple Beth-El in July 2022 as the fifth senior rabbi since its founding in 1928. Originally from Houston, Texas, I joined Temple Beth-El after completing a five-year tenure as senior rabbi of Temple Israel in Omaha, Nebraska. My wife, Karen; our daughter, Lindsay; son, Zachary; and I are thrilled to be an integral part of the Temple Beth-El family.

I joined Temple Beth-El as executive director in August 2015. I am a lifelong Jewish communal professional. Prior to Temple Beth-El, I helped lead the Sid Jacobson JCC in East Hills/Roslyn for 15 years, last serving as assistant executive director. My wife, Dana, and I have been married for 25 years and take great pride and joy in our children, Gregory and Layna.

John Lund is a dynamic entrepreneur with a passion for fostering growth and innovation. As the Co-founder of Coach.Win with partner Rob Simons, John has devoted himself to creating an environment that empowers leading business coaches, helping them connect and thrive. With a personal mission to “Create Conversation, Inspire Growth,” John has established an impressive track record in strategy sales planning. 

John’s entrepreneurial journey began with a 19-year tenure as the CEO of OFFWIRE Inc., where he led the company to remarkable heights. Under his guidance, OFFWIRE was twice recognized as one of Omaha’s fastest-growing businesses and appeared three times on the INC 5000 fastest growing companies list.  

John is actively involved with the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), a global network that supports over 15,000 members in 140+ chapters worldwide. He has held numerous leadership roles within the organization, including Chapter President, Area Director, Regional Director, Global Strategic Summit Director, and Global Chapter Development Chairman. 

John Lund’s passion for entrepreneurship and commitment to helping others succeed has made him a force to be reckoned with in the business world. His dedication to fostering growth and collaboration through Coach.Win is a testament to his unwavering belief in the power of conversation and inspiration.

For more information, visit his website.

Recent Sermons by Rabbi Stoller Regarding Visioning

March 1, 2024

September 25, 2023

December 2, 2022

Vivid Vision

In his book Vivid Vision, Cameron Herold invites us to imagine that a time machine has miraculously transported us three years into the future. When we get there, we find that Temple Beth-El has become the best possible version of itself and is thriving beyond our wildest imagination. He then asks us to paint a detailed picture of what we see: What’s going on there? What’s working well? How did we get to this ideal situation? That detailed picture of the future Temple Beth-El is our Vivid Vision, and everything we do going forward should be to help us make that vision a reality.

Our Visioning Team has worked hard to come up with a Vivid Vision for our congregation’s future. Here are some excerpts:

An open and inclusive congregation committed to the full and equal participation of every member, our mission is to support you in defining and being your authentic Jewish self.

We pursue our mission by offering our members opportunities for meaningful engagement with the five pillars of the Jewish tradition:

  • Torah – stimulating Jewish learning for people of all ages that transforms the way you see and live in the world.
  • Avodah – traditional and modern worship, enhanced by the joy of music, that meet the diverse spiritual needs of 21st-century Jews.
  • G’milut Chasadim – acts of kindness, caring, and social action that touch our congregants’ lives and make our wider community a better place.
  • K’hilah – social and cultural activities that build community and give our members a feeling of belonging.
  • Israel – recognizing the special relationship of Jews throughout the world and the unique and essential bond that we share with the State of Israel.

Temple Beth-El of Great Neck is a vibrant Reform congregation serving Great Neck and surrounding communities in western Nassau County and eastern Queens. People join our congregation because they are seeking meaningful personal connections with clergy, a close-knit, family-like community, and a strong culture of sacred partnership and learning, in which members are deeply involved in creating the life of the synagogue.

TBE serves those who desire an authentic 21st-century Jewish experience and who share our commitments to inclusion, gender egalitarianism, full and equal participation of all, civic involvement, modern spirituality, social action, and support of the state of Israel.

TBE remains committed to Great Neck, while right-sizing its footprint to better serve the congregation of its current size.

General Research, Data and News Articles

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Our Visioning

It is the responsibility of every organization to plan for their future. As the needs of our community changes, so does the need for our synagogue to change. With a history approaching 100 years old, Temple Beth-El and Great Neck look very different today than they did 10 years ago, 30 years ago, 50 years ago… As is our Jewish tradition to read Torah and find meaning in each generation, so it is the role of our leadership, as representatives of our holy congregation, to “read our Torah today” and assure Temple Beth-El offers meaning and value to our Jewish community now and for the future.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, there were changing demographics, changing needs and an opportunity to plan for the future, this was the birth of Temple Beth-El. Today there are new and different changing demographics, needs and opportunities for our community and it is in the best interest of the temple to take time, right now, to see where we’ve been, where we are and to purposefully make decisions about our future. Leadership have been looking carefully at all the trends – membership enrollment, our budget, our space needs and the greater community.

Our first priority is to be the best congregation we can be for membership today and assure a strong future. Opportunities to relook our space and right size our footprint are being considered. Opportunities for synergies and partnerships with other Jewish organizations are being considered. The visioning committee believes that Great Neck is where TBE is meant to be. It is important to continue to offer and provide a voice for pluralistic Judaism on the North Shore.

In order to maintain our synagogue and provide the services we offer, we rely on our dues – which only covers a portion of our expenses. As TBE has always done, we never want finances to impede one’s membership and connection to TBE. If an individual or family is facing any financial hardships, we will work with you. We see a bright future ahead and we invite you to be a part of the next chapter of our Jewish community’s history. This is why we are committed to embarking on this visioning process. We are ensuring that TBE and the guiding principles and values of pluralistic Judaism that sustain us will be here for our members today, tomorrow and for years to come.

We are fortunate to have Rabbi Brian Stoller as our senior rabbi. We are actually engaged in this process in part because of Rabbi Stoller’s leadership and vision. Our leadership are engaged and invested in the work of helping our community understand its options and opportunities.

Our Board of Trustees, with guidance from our Visioning Committee, are all dedicated temple members who have the singular interest in doing what is best for our congregation. They reflect and represent the diverse membership. Trustees are all elected by the membership of the congregation. As part of the process, all members will have the opportunity to share their voices and be a part of the vision of the future of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck.