Congregation Tifereth Israel in Columbus announced it was eliminating two office positions and part-time custodial and kitchen staff, in a letter emailed to congregants June 24.
The letter, signed by president Ron Solove, said while budget planning and a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program allowed all staff to remain in place through June, it now needs to eliminate the roles of marketing/communications manager Miriam Segaloff, front desk administrative assistant Wendy Lake and part-time janitorial and kitchen staff.
Solove wrote those who served in the positions “are very dear to us and have played an important part in our shul life for some time. We will miss them greatly.”
The letter said prior to COVID-19, the synagogue’s clergy and executive team were discussing potential staffing changes to “align with our evolving needs and budget constraints.”
“As our membership numbers stabilized over the past two years, and as we planned for a budget that is fiscally responsible, it became clear to both the board and the clergy that we needed to restructure our staff to meet our goals,” the letter read. “COVID-19’s economic effects on our members and our society in general only amplified our decisions.”
Segaloff worked in the marketing/communications position since November 2016. According to the letter, she helped bring “beauty and effectiveness to TI’s communications, specifically the design of our bimonthly forum, the weekly EForum, and the Tifereth Israel website.”
Lake has worked for the shul for three years. “Besides being the first person visitors meet during business hours, Wendy managed yahrzeit notifications, processed donations and acknowledgements, and worked with our families to arrange sponsored events and other aspects of their simchas,” the letter read.
The letter said facilities director Juan Pineda and kitchen manager Thelma Jimerson discussed with part-time custodial and kitchen staff that since the building would not be used “in the near future,” the synagogue could not employ them in the near term.
The letter also addressed the synagogue community’s probable questions regarding when it may be able to gather again in-person, plans for the High Holy Days and progress regarding a possible merger with Congregation Agudas Achim in Bexley. Solove wrote he pledged to answer those questions “to the best of my ability in the coming days and weeks,” and directed members to the congregation’s upcoming forum email where he would address the financial situation and budget approved by the board in further detail.