Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Kehillat Yedidya (R.A.)
Held on Sunday, June 16, 2013
1. Election of AGM chairperson and AGM secretary
2. Presentation of the audited financial statements for 2012 by the accountant
3. Presentation of the Audit Committee report
4. AGM approval of the audited financial statements for 2012
5. Election of accountant for 2013
6. Proposed changes to the Kehillat Yedidya charter (takanon)
7. Activity reports from various committees
8. Election of the Executive Committee for 2013
9. Election of the Audit Committee for 2013
1) Bruce Rosen was nominated and elected as AGM chairperson.
Shai Cohen was nominated and elected as AGM secretary.
2) Yedidya’s accountant, Avi Farkash of BDO, presented the audited financial statements for 2012. He explained some of the items contained in the statements, for example, that income of the Tzedaka Fund rose last year, as did income from building use (which rose significantly), and that donations remained steady. Regarding expenses, Avi noted that they were much the same as the previous year, except for those due to increased activity in the building.
Bruce thanks Avi Farkash for his work and for coming to the meeting, and noted that next year the financial statements should be ready at least two weeks in advance so that people could look at them, raise questions and receive explanations before the AGM.
Afterwards, J Rosenberg, Yedidya’s outgoing chairperson, gave an oral report on the community’s activities during the past year. He mentioned services on weekdays and Shabbat and holidays, classes, activities for children and youth that include special prayer services for these age groups, the evening Beit Midrash, hosting of individuals and groups, charitable activities such as meals for members who are ill or in mourning, the Tzedaka Fund, monthly meditation sessions, Shabbaton retreats, holiday events, the clothing bazaar and many, many more. He thanked each and every member who helped, worked and contributed their time and energies so that the community could be so active in so many spheres.
3) Josh Schoffman presented the report by Yedidya’s Audit Committee.
He indicated that the Audit Committee did not have much time to review the financial statements and the oral report for the Associations Registrar (Rasham Ha’Amutot) due to last minute corrections to the financial statements. He met with Avi Farkash together with Gary Ginsberg (Yedidya’s treasurer) in order to hear clarifications of all the questions that had come up, and on behalf of the Audit Committee he recommended that the AGM approve the financial statements and the oral report. He also proposed that the accountant meet with the Kehillah’s office staff in order to coordinate the budgetary classifications in our own records and the financial statements so that in the future there would be no misunderstandings.
He praised the way in which the Kehilla had managed its budget and the building during the past year, and noted that it was good that we were left with a financial reserve.
The Audit Committee attended most of the Executive Committee meetings, and Josh noted that there was an improvement in the way the EC was conducted. But he also mentioned that most of the work was being done by a small number of veteran members and that it was critical to recruit “new blood” and to increase the number of volunteers, particularly for organizing holidays and other events.
Josh stated the urgent need to record procedures, as was indicated by the Audit Committee in 2012 and although there was some progress, more is needed. He called for better delineation of EC procedures and more active communication with the operating committees.
Josh briefly spoke about the problem of the falling bricks: This is a serious problem with serious expenditures, but the issue is being handled by Marc Render and Tzvi Ariel – and this is ongoing.
Josh thanked the chairpersons, the Executive Committee and all the volunteers. He then recommended, on behalf of the Audit Committee, that the AGM approve the financial statements and the oral report.
4) A vote was held to approve the financial statements – approved unanimously.
A vote was held to approve the oral report – approved unanimously.
5) A motion was made to approve that Avi Farkash continue as Yedidya’s accountant – this was approved unanimously.
6) Josh Schoffman presented the proposed amendments to the Kehillat Yedidya charter (takanon), and briefly explained each change before it was voted on.
Amendment to Article 3 – This article clarifies the conditions under which a community member who has not paid membership dues ceases to be a member of the community (under the present Charter only the AGM can decide to cancel the membership of someone who has not paid dues) – the amendment passed.
Amendment to Article 10 – This article would make the Executive Committee responsible for defining the voting rules at the AGM, for example, whether elections for the EC would be via secret ballot and the like – the amendment passed.
Amendment to Article 13 – This changes the number of years that Executive Committee members serve on the EC, from one year to two years; transitional provisions at the end of the Charter define the method for instituting staggered terms for EC members so that only half of the EC members change each year, which would help ensure continuity in the EC – the amendment passed.
Amendment to Article 14 – This clarifies the term of members appointed to serve on the Executive Committee to replace a member who is no longer serving on the EC – the amendment passed.
Amendment to Article 14a – This proposal defines the role of the chairperson of the Executive Committee, how he is to be elected and what his duties are, and allows the EC to decide what other authorities will be delegated to the chairperson – the amendment passed.
Amendment to Article 15 and Article 16 – This amendment makes it easier for the Executive Committee to make decisions outside of its regular meetings, for example via telephone or e-mail, if 2/3 of the EC members support the issue; on the other hand, if two EC members feel the need to meet to discuss the matter then a face-to-face meeting must be held – the amendment passed.
During the discussions a motion was made to enable the EC to appoint members up to the maximum number of 11, both in cases where the AGM elects fewer than 11 members and in cases where a seat is vacated during the year. The motion was passed.
In addition, other suggestions regarding implementation were made from the floor for subsequent consideration by the EC.
7) Reports were given by representatives from Yedidya’s various committees:
Report on the building status by Marc Render – Attorney Yossi Avneri is representing Yedidya vis-à-vis the various parties in order to settle the problem of the falling stones. At a meeting held at the shul on June 10, a representative from the Israel Standards Institute proved that the problem with the stones was serious and that there was “zero adhesion” of the stones to the wall, that the problem was with the entire surface and not merely a few stones, and that we are not responsible. The attorney sent a letter to the architect and is awaiting his reply. In the meantime the architect has suggested that we negotiate in order to formulate a proposal. The repairs, which involve inserting reinforcing pins into each stone, will cost between NIS 150,000 and NIS 200,000.
Report of the Youth Committee by Jenny Bayer-Gamulka – She mentioned the four groups for Yedidya’s youngsters – the small kids group run by JJ Marks, grades 1-3 which is run by Yedidya’s youth, grades 4-6 and the youth group. Most of the activity takes place on Shabbat – children’s prayer group, youth prayer, shared meals, discussions and Kiddush. But there are also activities relating to holidays, such as the children’s visits to the “Beit Moses” old age home, where the children have a special relationship with the residents. She noted that JJ’s group was very popular and that even families who are not Yedidya members come on Shabbat morning to participate. She also mentioned and praised the work being done by the youth coordinator, Elazar Waldman.
Report from the “greeters” coordinator, Steven Edell – He mentioned that there has been a problem of security recently, and that the greeters are trying to prevent suspicious persons from entering the building. The greeters are a very serious group and they are attempting to cope with matters and keep our building safe.
Report on the Social Action Committee by Randi Garber – Randi reported that the “Ma’aglei Tzedek” organization was closing its operations and that “Tav Hevrati” was looking for new supporters. The Committee is now looking for a new local project that would not involve too many hours. Randi also mentioned the blood drives that she and the Committee organize at Yedidya, which is an critical and highly successful endeavor.
Report from the Building Use Committee by Eudice Winer-Harris – Eudice reported that Yedidya’s income from events this year was NIS 100,000 – britot and other family celebrations, meetings and gatherings by non-profits and other organizations – sometimes at a very reduced price, Rosh Hodesh prayers by pupils from the Efrata school, the Beit Midrash program and other classes, support groups, choir and cultural events. We have good relations with our neighbors and people like coming to our building.
8) Joshua Schoffman and Eliezer Finer were nominated to continue serving on the Yedidya Audit Committee. The AGM approved this and they will continue serving for another year.
9) Ten people were nominated to serve on the Executive Committee: Linda Gradstein (who will continue to serve as Yedidya’s chairperson), Gary Ginsberg (who will continue to serve as treasurer), David Gleicher, Donna Goldberg, Daniel Rohrlich and Bruce Rosen, who will continue serving on the EC; Kobi Abelman (who is returning to the EC following a one-year hiatus); Avital Ordan and Adina Golombek (new EC members), and Josh Margo (a new Yedidya member). The AGM elected all ten candidates to serve on the Executive Committee.
Debbie Greiniman mentioned that the names of EC candidates should be announced in advance of the AGM, and if there are positions available this should also be announced so that Yedidya members could put forth their candidacy. In addition, she reminded EC members that the agenda of the monthly EC meetings should also be publicized in advance.
Meir Zalevsky raised the matter of the shiur at seudah shlisheet on Shabbat afternoon, which at one time was given in Hebrew but had slowly switched to being an English shiur and he wanted to go back to the shiur being in Hebrew. Kobi Abelman mentioned that although he usually insists on official Yedidya events being in Hebrew, the shiur at seudah shlisheet was almost always given in English.
Hadas Elroi feels that regular membership dues (NIS 1260 after the first two years) are high compared with other synagogues in the neighborhood, where dues range from about NIS 550 to NIS 800, particularly for young families with children who do not earn large salaries but who want to join Yedidya. It was suggested that the Executive Committee clarify and discuss the matter.
Hadas also raised the issue of a rabbi for the community, and that there should at least be someone that people could turn to with halachic questions. Debbie Greiniman explained that there was such a group, but apparently it needed to be better advertised among the members.
Esther Edell noted that Eudice Winer-Harris donates a great deal of her time for the community and puts in many hours of work, and she thanked Eudice for all of her activity on behalf of the community.
Linda Gradstein concluded the meeting with a call for volunteers: Running the synagogue demands a great deal of work by many volunteers. She thanked Shai Cohen for his work in the office and also thanked the three Executive Committee members who are leaving – J Rosenberg, Esther Edell and Penina Arbit, who made tremendous contributions to the EC and the community. Linda asked that every member increase the level of their volunteering. If we work together it will be a success, otherwise the work falls on the shoulders of a small number of people and they can’t do it all.
The 2013 Annual General Meeting of Kehillat Yedidya was adjourned.
Recorded by: Penina Arbit