Our New Governance Structure and Proposed Constitution

Posted on January 5, 2017 by Robin Osman

On March 19, we will hold a special congregational meeting to approve implementation of Temple Beth-El’s new constitution, which proposes a new structure for synagogue governance and management. Here’s what you need to know:

At Temple Beth-El, we strive to stay strong and continue to grow. To do so, it is important to evaluate and assess ourselves from time to time. Our committees and staff do this regularly regarding programming. To achieve this goal at the constitutional and strategic levels, an ad-hoc committee chaired by Ed Malberg and Cindy Andrews was convened to review our constitution. The committee spent a year evaluating every aspect of our current constitution. They reviewed documents from other congregations, identified unclear language in our current document, considered the effectiveness of our current structure and ultimately proposed a new structure for synagogue governance and management.

In the new structure, governance and management will be separated. The Temple Beth-El Board of Trustees will be smaller, but will still be the governing body of the congregation. A newly created Oversight Committee will manage the day-to-day affairs of the congregation so that the Board of Trustees may consider and direct strategy. This Oversight Committee will include all officers, along with five new counselor positions intended to act as liaisons to committees and auxiliaries. Committees will continue to be the functional backbone of the congregation.

This past spring, the proposed changes were presented to the Board of Trustees, which approved bringing this to the congregation for ratification. We held two Q & A sessions in November, and another is scheduled on January 8 at 10:00 a.m. Members of the Constitutional Review Committee will be there to explain their process and answer any questions you may have. This will be the final meeting to gather feedback, and your last opportunity to publicly comment on the proposed revisions before they are presented to the board in February. An overview of the major changes is printed near this article. Links to the current Temple Beth-El Constitution; the proposed document; a version showing the full detail of revisions; and a side-by-side summary of the changes can be found at www.tinyurl.com/TBEConstitutionChanges5777.

Many thanks to Ed and Cindy for their leadership, and to Jay Lavroff, Carrie Feuer, Harold Levin and Amy Rubin for their work on the Constitutional Review Committee.Wishing you a happy New Year with many blessings in the year to come. I hope to see you around temple soon!


Robin Osman


Originally published in the January-February 2017 issue of the Shofar. For more issues of the Shofar, visit the Shofar archives