EnVision To Date: A Documentation of Where we are With our EnVision OKC Campaign

Welcome to the site that documents where we are with the EnVision Campaign! This is a place to visit to learn what's going on so far. Here you will find: recaps of events large and small, images, thoughts large and small. Questions or want to get involved with managing this site? Email Deb Kerson Bilek at EnVisionOKC [at] ohrkodesh [dot] org


UPDATE 6/24/2019: 

EnVision OKC: Community Engagement Survey open now through end of July!

The purpose of the EnVision OKC campaign is to provide opportunities to reflect on our community with the purpose of elevating our consciousness to identify who we are; name our strengths; recognize our opportunities; and visualize our hopes for our shared future. The EnVision campaign has been specifically designed for our congregation with the goal of preparing us for change. 

From Jan-April, during the peak of the EnVision campaign, approximately 200 members of our congregation opted to engage in facilitated discussions designed to draw out reflections on our community. These discussions were held on weekends, in the evenings, at ABRS, and at ECC. 

The output of these conversations were documented, analyzed, and synthesized, resulting in the surfacing of various themes. This survey aims to (1) reflect these themes back to us, and (2) prompt us to react to these themes in a more specific, individualized way. The goal of this survey is to take the EnVision campaign one step further to understanding our hopes and preferences for our community.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts! (One respondent per survey; multiple survey responses per household is fine! Survey can be taken anonymously, or there's an option to share your name at the end if you chose).

Please note this survey may take between 15-30 minutes to complete, depending on how detailed you wish to be.

Survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EnVisionOKC

Questions: email EnVisionOKC [at] ohrkodesh [dot] org


UPDATE 5/9/2019: EnVision OKC is onto the next phase of its campaign, which includes spurring meaningful and relevant conversations in small groups outside our synagogue building. The intent of EnVision OKC is to include as many voices as possible in our reflections of our community. The conversation starters listed below have been developed to prompt discussion based on key themes that have been identified through EnVision so far.

We invite you use these prompts at informal gatherings with OKC members (such as Shabbat dinners, brunches, playdates, outings to the park, etc.). We further invite you to explore, to probe, to question, and to reflect on these themes in the safety of these small, familiar groups. 

Importantly, please email the general takeaways from these conversations to be to EnVisionOKC [at] ohrkodesh [dot] org. This way, we can collect the important data you're generating as part of this larger process!


1. We tend to focus our programming around age cohorts and life milestones, yet there is benefit and value in cross-generational interaction. How might we contemplate our approach to programming so that we can realize our greatest potential as a community?

2. Attracting new members is critical for a vibrant organization. We want to be an inclusive and welcoming community, yet there are groups and constituencies that we are not currently reaching (e.g. young adults without children, same-sex couples and families, interfaith couples and families, empty nesters, etc.). What is our best approach for growth?

3. We believe that our community's traditional approach to observance and ritual Judaism stands out among other Conservative synagogues. How can we continue to embody and balance tradition, inclusivity, and egalitarianism?

4. When it comes to OKC's future, what else are you thinking about?


March 31, 2019

Last EnVision Community Conversation (By Melissa Stein)

On March 31st, approximately 30 congregants gathered in the the social hall for the last EnVisionOKC Community Conversation. Attendees gathered in chairs clustered around one of the following four prompts posted around the room:

1. As a community, we are eager to build cross-generational interaction And Our programs tend to fall into silos by age- and life-milestones.

2.  As a community, we have strong lay leadership and many opportunities to get involved And Our “leadership pipeline” tends to feature continuous familiar faces.

3. We wish to be an inclusive community And There are key constituencies we’re not reaching. These constituencies include: interfaith couples, same-sex couples, and young adults without children.

4. We are reflecting on our community’s place in Conservative Judaism And We are evaluating our balance of modernity, observance, and egalitarianism.

Each group rotated through the above prompts for open conversation recorded in their assigned color marker. When a group moved to a prompt, we were encouraged to respond to the notes from the other groups, designated by the distinct ink colors.

While each of the four 20 minute discussions began addressing a prompt, conversations evolved towards common threads between all four prompts. It was a great opportunity to contribute to the larger EnVisionOKC process, but perhaps even more relevant is the community building that occurred amongst attendees of all age and life milestones, amongst lay leaders and minimally involved congregants, and amongst Shomer Shabbat individuals and individuals who rarely attend services.

I left feeling inspired by my group’s ability to embrace our differences of thought. I left realizing that our congregation’s willingness and desire to engage in learning and debate with people from other viewpoints is perhaps our greatest strength.

To view images of the final conversation - including the flip chart notes (you may need to zoom in to see specifics, but don't let that discourage you!), please click here.


March 18, 2019

What's Working? What's Not Working? What Can We Improve? (by Deb Kerson Bilek)

On March 11th, over 40 members of our community gathered in the Social Hall from 7-9pm for the second EnVision OKC World Cafe. This community-wide conversation marked the third large event of its kind, and so far, over 120 people have attended and participated in these meaningful conversations about who we are, and visualizing our future. 

Over the course of the March 11th World Cafe, participants were invited to engage in three separate facilitated conversations about our community. The program was designed such that eight concurrent conversations occurred contemporaneously, allowing small groups of 6-8 participants to engage with each other at a time. Each conversation was led by a trained facilitator and documented by a trained scribe. The conversation prompts were: 

  • Consider our congregation and our community as a whole. What’s working?  
  • Consider our congregation and our community as a whole. What’s NOT working? 
  • Consider our congregation and our community as a whole. What can we improve?    

The output of these conversations is currently being synthesized, and will be reflected on this website soon. Images from the March 11 World Cafe can below.

In the meantime, as information from the previous EnVision events continues to be synthesized and holistically reviewed, several themes are starting to emerge!  Some of the themes that have been unearthed so far include:

  • We’re eager to build cross-generational interaction, but our programs tend to fall into silos by age- and life-milestones.
  • We have strong lay leadership and many opportunities to get involved, yet our “leadership pipeline” tends to feature continuous familiar faces.
  • We want to be an inclusive community, yet there are key constituencies we’re not reaching, including: interfaith couples, same-sex couples, and young adults without children.
  • We’re exploring our place in the conservative movement, and evaluating our balance of modernity, observance, and egalitarianism. 

These are big ideas, and yet these themes are just a small sample of the range of topics we are discussing. 

We need MORE voices, MORE opinions, and MORE points of view to add to these conversations – and to start new ones – if we hope for the EnVision campaign to be authentically representative of our community.

The next large community-wide conversation will be held on March 31, 9:30-11:30am, in the social hall. Please join and share your thoughts! Questions? Comments? Email Deb at EnVisionOKC [at] ohrkodesh [dot] org

 To view the images of the World Cafe conversations, click here

March 4, 2019
A Recap of our First World Café (by Sarah Kagan)

On Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24, about 40 OKC members participated in a “World Café Conversation.” Round tables were set up in the Kay Social Hall, and each table had a trained facilitator, a scribe, and a question.  Participants rotated among tables for in-depth conversations with an intimate group of fellow congregants.  The conversations were both evaluative of what we currently enjoy and forward-looking to what we could become. By the end of the session, each member had participated in four different conversations.  As examples of the topics discussed, one conversation focused on inter-generational activities and another focused on achieving the potential of the community.  A third conversation focused on what makes our community unique, and a fourth conversation focused on our ability to get more people engaged.

We are collecting notes from the scribes, and will synthesize these notes, along with those collected at the upcoming EnVision OKC World Café on March 11th, and will share these with the wider community.

Come to one of the next two opportunities (Mon, March 11, 7 - 9 PM and Sun, March 31, 11 AM - 1 PM) to share your thoughts and feelings, and to learn what concerns other congregants. 

 To view the images of the World Cafe conversations, click here.


February 17, 2019
EnVision OKC To Date (by Gilda Zimmet)

Almost 40 OKC members attended the first large Envision OKC community-wide conversation on February 12th.  We were a diverse group of all ages. The group was led by Deb Bilek, who happens to be a professional facilitator, which meant the session was focused, on time, and meaningful.  Rabbi Fishman also attended the event, and praised the EnVision OKC effort as one that will make our community stronger.  We started by learning about the timeline for Envision OKC and how this process relates to the upcoming Rabbinic search. Deb then invited members to raise questions about the community about which we could talk. The operative word was COMMUNITY.  We came up with almost thirty questions - evidence of an engaged and caring shul community.  Here are a few examples:  How might we include non traditional families in our community? How might we increase spirituality?  How do we connect with other neighboring religious communities?  All of the questions were posted on large sheets of paper on the wall, and Deb invited us to write our reactions and thoughts about each question.  As members moved around the room, there was collegial conversation amongst us all. We concluded with a collective conversation about how these questions would be used in the next stage of OKC Envision, in which we hope all members will participate. 

To view the images from the conversation, which includes a photo of each question posed and the responses generated, click here

Ohr Kodesh Congregation

8300 Meadowbrook Lane
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Phone: (301) 589-3880
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