Budgeting during COVID

Last night the Federation board approved a budget for 2021. For those of you who do not regularly work on budgeting, it requires nuanced levels of forecasting and planning, both of which are challenging in good times and nearly impossible during a pandemic.

Planning: What kinds of speakers should we bring in next year? Should we focus on Israel, politics, or Jewish engagement? What kinds of resources should we devote to each area? Should we serve fish or chicken?

Forecasting: When will we be able to gather in person again? When the CDC deems it safe, how eager will people be to gather?

I have a degree in accounting and like to think that I can budget with the best of them. For the purpose of budgeting for 2021, however, a degree in prophesy would have been much more useful. Sadly, this major was not offered at my alma mater, and the Jewish people haven’t had a reliable prophet in millennia.

Turning to other thought leaders for inspiration, we have major league pitcher turned cultural icon Yogi Berra who claimed, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Even our own icon Professor Berk often reminds us, “I am not a prophet.”

So as a best guess, and without divine inspiration, we’ve budgeted to safely resume in-person gatherings next September, and we hope that everyone is comfortable to show up. “ken yehi ratzon—may it be God’s will.”

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