Kehillat Beijing

Founded in 1979, the Kehillat Beijing Foundation supports Jewish life in Beijing, around China, and across the world. We host Shabbat services and dinner each and every Friday night beginning at 7:00pm, in addition to a range of holiday celebrations, educational opportunities, and community retreats and excursions into one of the world's greatest cities. 

Notes from 2014.05.25 Brainstorming

Key Points

Below, you can find the complete notes from Kehillat Beijing's May 25th brainstorming session in their full, stream-of-communal-consciousness glory. 

  • Kehillat's Siddurim will soon depreciate to $0; perhaps Kehillat is ready to create our own? Or at least work on a community Haggadah. 
  • Amped-Up Marketing Committee will begin working on physical information materials for services.
  • Kehillat would like to begin exploring possibilities of creating a Beijing Jewish Federation, to bring together the Kehillat Beijing Foundation, The Moishe House, and TOV! Sunday school to better facilitate community identity, and funding initiatives - most notably a closer relationship with the JDC. 
  • Several suggestions were made for changes to the membership structure, including a flat once-a-year fee for all meals (no more waiting in line!)
  • Other fundraising options included: 
    • Jewish fair at a local gallery
    • Expanded Jewish Film Festival (maybe with a famous host?)
    • Matzah Ball!
    • Improved connections with travelers and students


Full Notes

Sustainability vs inclusiveness
Kehillat but one of several Jewish orgs... Must be more than Fri night dinner, retreat, Tov

                 Who do we want to be?
This message must be on website, other materials
   Must give inclusive message
   Mission statement exists in 501c3 articles, should only need modest mods
   Should be board-led, community-reviewed
Many committees, few active

94-99 members, ca. 30 families = USD25-30k p.a., mostly to meals

Several important donors
Working with outside orgs = 25-30% overhead
   Grant funding
   we don't charge more than meal rate
Siddurim depreciate at years end, worth 0, time to ask for more
   Much wear and tear, don't have enough
What brings us together as Jews?

   Create own siddurim/haggadah meaningful to us for key holidays, Chinese poems, calligraphy - one step in longer process of establishing ourself as a community.

   Establishment of Jewish community center? Proto-design extant. Painful, work, overhead, taxes

Spielberg, Spielberg, Spielberg

Visiti rabbi program sponsored by families
   Wine on Shabbat
   Sponsorship means more money from our pockets, therefore we should look for fellow traveller outside
   Weekly newsletter should list sponsors, table tents, poster
   People don't know what they're getting for their fees
   HK has community lunches on Shabbat sponsored by family
   Dues benefits hard to quantify

Need newsletter, brochure, yearly journal to capture visitors? Announcements, ask for donations, better than email
   Over-reliance on email sign ups
   Brochure can bring in donations - Amy plus marketeers

How do we work with JDC? Burden sharing? Org with funds, person in Shanghai (historic link, Jewish museum, gracefulness to donors in Shanghai)
   Federation of Jewish philanthropies in Beijing gets sponsored by JDC?
   JDC will support community events that are not specifically religious
Kehillat could take over Jewish film festival, get JDC support, find free venues, sell tix, student attendees

                            Portfolio of strong Jewish programs/sidelines
Standing: Shabbat, holidays, Tov, life events, retreats
   Film festival
   Art exhibition/fair, at 798? David
   !Kaifeng Jewish Museum foundation moves to Beijing for Jewish museum
       Lots of Jewish China tourists, all come to Beijing
       We could capitalize on 
   Kehillat tour of China
   Food events, galas- need sponsor
   Capital campaign-- alumni and visitors
   Jewish tours for Chinese people, beware of proselytizing, but no history

Jewish federation-- Moishe house would support, kbf and tov

Charitable foundation?

Asking donations from US congregations
   Ppt from mark Levine
   Need personal connection
   Ask visitors to go back to their communities
Get visitors to donate something
Chinese-Jewish jewelry, during service and on website
Fees/donations for visiting helo-parents of children visiting Beijing
Andres: wine sponsor every other week? Starting June
  Buy two get one free?

                         Membership dues: 
   tiered? No "us vs them." Already normal and student fees, also pay Casey-what-you-can
   Less than 20% pay less than, probably as many pay more
Meals at Capital Club
   Loss all due to Shabbat dinners
   Many more young people come because of subsidy (and Moishe House)
   Loss gap is closing, but still must have donors among families
   Increase membership dues to get tix down to half price, encouraging community to gather, but not everyone goes every week
   Could have 75%-priced optional meal add on to membership
Must avoid losing money on high-holiday meals
   Outreach to parents after Yom Kippur
   Post-gram to parents- pic of kid send to parents with ask for continued meal payment
   Best four images of Kehillat, round up young people for group photo

Arthur: Difficult to execute because of individual time constraints, therefore need to divide into three baskets:
   Standing activities
   Funding on the margin
   Bigger events to consider

Ellen: Instead of board structure, be organically cellular, I.e. Act in naturally occurring, friendly groups
List serve/WeChat group
Look under your chair for information
Wangjing space, different location every week? 
Other Jewish org: RMB20 to participate, plus dinner at venue
Baby goods gift exchange

Josh: need doers, always had problem with follow through

Becka: start small and build up;

Jake: we have momentum

Rabbi Jack in town for three weeks
   Amy looks at lodging closer to time
   Stays for wedding?
   Need formal announcement 
   Part time in Albequerque
   Physicist by day
   Likes to work with adult Jews to rediscover their Judaism
   Good mix of intellectual and spiritual