Minutes of the Va'ad Hamenahel Committee meeting, April 20, 2016

Present: VM members, Dina Weiner, David Gleicher, Yitzhak Avigad, Kobi Abelman, Ralph Amelan, (Shoshana Baumgarten)

Finance Committee: Mark Nulman

Va'ad Bikoret: Sharon Edri


The meeting commenced by approving the minutes of the last meeting, subject to two amendments, and approving the financial policy paper discussed at the previous meeting. It was noted that the requirement to approve the striking off of previous authorized signatories on the congregational accounts and the addition of new ones had been approved at the Va'ad Menahel meeting last October.

The meeting then reviewed recent events. Thanks were expressed to Yitzhak Avigad and Ralph Amelan for the arrangements on Purim. The volunteers list for the festival had been updated and filed with Miriam for next year. More money had been donated to the Kupat Tzedaka this Purim. Questions were raised about the crowding at the 3rd reading of the Megilla in Mercaz Dov, and it was suggested to hold it elsewhere next year.

New rules at Bank Hapoalim for depositing checks for the Kupat Tzedaka had caused difficulties for Miriam, who had had to stand in line for an hour and a half to do so. It was suggested that those responsible for the Kupat Tzedaka provide volunteers for the task to save Miriam's time, and it was hoped that the bank would provide a less time-consuming method for depositing checks soon. Mark Nulman would look into the advantages, if any, conferred by using PayPal.

The Bazaar had raised a record NIS 10,000, and thanked Noomi Stahl for all her efforts in making it a success. However, there had been inadequate provision for volunteers to clear up afterwards, and this needed to be put right next year.

As far as Pesach was concerned, the catering arrangements for Shabbat Hagadol had been put in place a little late. This should be remedied next year, when Pesach was due to fall on Monday night and therefore demand for the Shabbat HaGadol meals would be higher. This year there would be a Kiddush on the first day of the festival, as opposed to previous years: there may be problems with readers. The parochet would be switched for the Omer period.

The Erev Yom Hashoah event, organized by David Silberklang, would be a discussion about school trips to Poland as an educational tool for the Shoah. Ronen was in charge for Memorial Day and Independence Day: Uriel Simon would be the speaker, and the kids' choir was busy with rehearsals. It was not clear who the point person would be for Shavuot: Kobi was taking care of the tikkun. Bnei Akiva were not being hosted this year.

Shoshana Baumgarten then gave a slide presentation of the various measures open to the Kehilla to improve the acoustics, developed as a result of meetings with acoustic engineers.

The first was to peel away part of the acoustic sponge downstairs over the area where tefillot were held, which should improve acoustics there for all purposes and help to return and amplify the voice of the chazan: as it was, the classical quintet that played in the event organized by Haim Watzman in memory of his father enjoyed excellent acoustics. Books baffle the sound and absorb it.

This would not resolve problems with noise from the sides of the space and the passages downstairs. The second measure was to treat the ceiling in the passages by the coats and the kitchen to absorb sound in these areas: the walls there might require treating later. There was a discussion about the lighting in these areas, and the possibility of using LED lights there.

Sounds from the stairs leading to the women's side of the sanctuary disturbed prayers there. Special sound absorbent paint and other measures to treat the walls were required.

Two acoustic doors were needed to replace existing doors downstairs by the library shelves and in front of the stairs leading to the women's side of the sanctuary.

Returning to the problem of noise from the sides of the space downstairs near the benches by the window and the amphi would also require treatment, likely using an acoustic wood baffle.

The worst problem, though were on the side of the downstairs hall by the stairs and former office on one side and the ramp on the other. These sections would have to be closed off. Sliding doors were out because of the need to install a rail in the floor and the space taken by the housing required by the folded doors.

There were only two options, both expensive. The first was a fixed, double-glazed wall system with doors opening in them, which would cut down the space available for Kiddush and tefilot. Stickers would be needed to be placed on the glass to avoid accidents.

The second was a glass panel system that would fold as required, similar to the system already in place to divide the downstairs hall. An overhead rail would be required, and the ventilation position would have to be looked into.

The fate of the site next to the Kehilla building was discussed. It had recently been fenced off without warning, and the city had begun preparing the ground for the construction of three gamin. The Kehilla was working with the Minhal Kehilati and was recognized as having standing in the dispute, which centered on the fact that the city had gone ahead with construction without consulting the Kehilla or other neighbors or checking local conditions, and on the positioning of the new buildings: they were going to be too close to the Kehilla building. Marc Render and Yuval Bar were representing Yedidya in the matter. Currently, excavations were continuing, and the city was permitted to do this: they had to comply with a new law requiring them to construct extra ganim.

Yossi Silverman was doing event supervision when Miriam could not, and Yaacov Young was in charge of Shabbat set up. When he was not there, Michael Stahl and Dani Kahn were back-ups. There were negotiations in progress with two cleaning firms: one looked very promising, and the numbers were now being sorted by the Personnel Committee: the firms give receipts. In a discussion, it was noted that the cleaners had never been within the remit of any particular committee, not even the House Committee (which needed more volunteers), and Eudice had been in charge of them. It was suggested that the office (Miriam) have responsibility and the budget for them. 'Filler' cleaning work would still be done by kids, mainly on Erev and Motzai Shabbat and at special events.

The level of air-conditioning was discussed and it was noted that the variable temperatures of spring created difficulties when setting temperature levels. It was suggested to try to have it come on an hour or so before Shabbat, especially near the ramp where the afternoon sun caused it to be hot in that area, and a little earlier in the morning now that temperatures were rising.

The AGM was due at the end of June: we needed a VM point person for the AGM. Yitzhak Avigad was leaving the VM after serving two years. With regard to new Yoshvei Rosh, it was suggested that there be provision for them 'shadowing' the existing Yoshvei Rosh for a while: it was important that they spent time learning the ropes from the people with current experience of the post.

The drainage project for Mercaz Dov was nearly concluded.

A question arose about committees which do not make decisions in time. A mechanism was needed whereby, in extreme cases, the Va'ad Menahel take these decisions. Committees should supply to the Va'ad the name of the head of the committee, who else is on the committee, how many people they need on the committee, the criteria for being on the committee, and who decides who will be on the committee. The Va'ad needs to be in dialog with the committees.

The continuing problem of events that occur between Va'ad meetings which were not reflected in email or other records was raised, and the meeting was reminded of the need of Va'ad members to keep each other informed of these events. Some things could be taken care of via announcements between meetings.