Consolidated Bimah List

Now available–a consolidated Bimah list.

We’ve added another button to the Yahrzeit query. Just a little background would be in order. On the Yahrzeit query, the top half of the screen shows all the Yahrzeits matching the Hebrew date range. Conversely, the bottom half of the screen shows all the Yahrzeits matching the Gregorian dates that you’ve entered.

If your congregation concentrates on one or the other — all Hebrew or all Gregorian — you can use the long-standing buttons to create a Hebrew or Gregorian Bimah list.

On the other hand, if your congregation has a mixture, the new Combination Bimah List button will serve you well.

combination bimah list

With this button, the system combines the Hebrew lines with the Gregorian lines, to give you one list. Along the way, at your option, it sorts by the dates the Yahrzeits occur, according to the Yahrzeit observer.

If you haven’t used the Yahrzeit area before, you might find it helpful to have a look at this instructional article and video.

Or, if you’d like to see the new “Combo” Bimah list in action, here’s a link that will step through the process.

Consolidated Bimah List

Improvements within Yahrzeit Queries

You’ll see three improvements within Yahrzeit queries. Those changes are as follows:

  • If you’re entering a Gregorian date range, the program had been adding a day to the end of the range. Why? you might ask. We were being extra cautious. We were including Yahrzeits that began after sundown on the “to” part of the date. However, none of our customers thought that made sense. Consequently, we have removed the extra day tack-on. If you enter July 1 through July 31, you’ll see July 1 through July 31, alongside its equivalents on the Hebrew calendar.
  • When sending emails from the member query, you may be taking advantage of the ability to use an alternate sender email address. (If you missed that announcement, here’s the post that will fill you in.) All well and good–but that same idea was not available if you’re sending out Yahrzeit notifications by email. For example, you might wish your Yahrzeit notifications to be sent from a general address, such as “[email protected]” If you do wish to use an alternate sender address, please do get in touch with us. We’ll need to have our email handler verify the new email sender.
  • Last thing–on smaller screens, or screens that were less than maximized, the buttons below the listings collided with the drop-down boxes to their right. The system now handles those situations gracefully, even to the size of a cell phone.
action buttons on Yahrzeit queries
Actions Buttons on Yahrzeit Query

Here’s an under-four-minute video that runs through these improvements within Yahrzeit queries.

How to: Input and Report on Yahrzeits

This post runs through most aspects of updating Yahrzeits, especially connecting members of your congregation to their loved ones who have passed away.

The video also shows how to

  • Pull Yahrzeit lists by both Hebrew date range and Gregorian date range.
  • Obtain a spreadsheet with both lists.
  • Create Yahrzeit reminder notifications, honed specifically to the recipient’s preference of Hebrew or Gregorian.
  • How to create a printable list of Yahrzeits, using either a Hebrew date range or a Gregorian date range.

In contrast to most of our posts, which announce new features, this is meant as an instructional video. Enjoy.

How to: Maintain and report on Yahrzeits.

Yahrzeit Query by Billing Status

Hang onto your hats, folks. This one goes a mite deep.

First, in order to understand this change, let’s outline how some of the data relates to each other. Modeled after the real world,

  • ShalomCloud houses family units, sometimes referred to as households.
  • One or more individuals reside within those family units.
  • Yahrzeits, in and of themselves, are records of deceased persons, containing, among other details, both the Hebrew and Gregorian dates of death.
  • Yahrzeit relationships, then, are the ties between the deceased and the individuals defined and maintained by you.

The family units / households contain a field called “billing status.” Thus, a member of a household listed as “Active” can also be thought of as Active. Likewise, a member of a household with status “Inactive,” for example, can be thought of as Inactive.

And now, at last we arrive at the change. Within Yahrzeit queries, you can now select billing status(es) for relationships you want to appear in the answer. For example, let’s say that there are two brothers, Adam and Billy. Adam is a member of your congregation; Billy is indeed tracked in your data, but has a status of “Out of Town.” Let’s say, also, that their father David’s Yahrzeit is in the system.

In this example, if you run a Yahrzeit query without specifying billing status, you’ll see both David, father of Adam and David, father of Billy. However, if you run that same query, specifying only Active, you’ll see only David, father of Adam.

Also, the actions that flow from the query screen–the mail merge export, the Yahrzeit reminder letters, and the Yahrzeit reminder emails–match what you’ll see on the screen.

Here is a five-minute video that shows how this works.

Bimah List

Bimah List .

ShalomCloud has offered, from the beginning, a way to pull Yahrzeits by a variety of selection criteria. You could pull lists by by name, by related member, by Gregorian date range, by Hebrew date range. You could even pull a list of Yahrzeits where there is no related member.

Moreover, from the list, you could create emails to the related persons, or create hard-copy letters to those same folks.

Finally, you could export the list to a spreadsheet, and perhaps use that spreadsheet to format and print a document to read from the Bimah during Shabbat services.

We are announcing an added convenience–the ability to create a ready-made list, expressly meant to be read from the Bimah.

There are a few options when generating the Bimah list:

  • By Hebrew date or Gregorian date.
  • From and to dates.
  • Group the list by day or by week (for example, if you make the announcements weekly, and perhaps have a daily Minyan, you’d probably want to group the list by day. On the other hand, if you have services twice a month, you may want a monthly list, grouped by week).
  • Include or not include the relationships on the list.
  • Print the list (or save to a file), after you see it on the screen.

Here’s a video that shows a couple of ways to create the Bimah List.


Yahrzeit Letters Enhanced

Enhanced formatting for Yahrzeit letters–by which we mean fonts, colors, sizing, and the like.

At first, ShalomCloud offered a way to control content for Yahrzeit notifications, presuming you would print and mail them.  After that, we bolstered the communication offering by making available email templates.  The latter included a toolbar to control letter sizes, letter colors, background colors, and even picture placement.

However, you, the user, had to choose one or the other–either the fixed format (but with editable content) of the letters, or the fluid format of emails.

No longer!  You may now format your Yahrzeit notifications using the email templates, yet use the email template to send hard-copy letters.  The best of both worlds.

Here’s a video (4m, 18s) that shows this new idea in action.

Field selection on Yahrzeit queries

Some time ago, in response to how crowded with fields was the Member query, we made available check boxes by which the user could select which fields should appear on the reports and spreadsheet downloads.

The same selection ability is now available on the Yahrzeit queries.  This makes for a more device-responsive, cleaner appearance.
Yahrzeit_field_selection

 

Next set of Yahrzeit Enhancements

Realizing that this is fairly dry material, we nonetheless wish to mention several small enhancements within the Yahrzeit capability:

  1. ShalomCloud has for some time offered “tags,” alternatively dubbed “attributes,” for Households and individuals.  Yahrzeits can also now be associated with tags….which means you can also query and report by those tags.
  2. If your congregation maintains plaques for Yahrzeits, you might be interested in a new query–displaying all the Yahrzeits with no plaque.
  3. In the same vein, the application has long been able to show and display Yahrzeits and relationships to people in the congregation.  Now we flip to the opposite question–showing all the Yahrzeits for whom no relationship exists.
  4. Next occurrence of Yahrzeit, as of a user-entered date.

 

 

Handling Yahrzeits

The Hebrew calendar is tricky.  Seven years in each nineteen-year cycle, an extra month is added.  Furthermore, months can vary in number of days, from year to year.

Special care is needed for cases where

  • The congregant knows only the Hebrew month and day, but not the year
  • The Hebrew month is one of varying lengths, analogous to February 29th.


yahrzeit_demo from Norman Snyder on Vimeo.