November 23, 2004, Ritual Committee Meeting Minutes

Just a note to update everyone on the Ritual Committee meeting held on November 23. Fifteen members attended.

Norm Levin gave a general update on Minyan matters:

§ The letters relating to the vote on videotaping of services should be mailed next week.

§ We have assembled a “final” list of Minyan members and will be considering whether it is feasible to publish a separate directory of Minyan members similar to the Temple’s directory. Joel Grossman suggested that we solicit advertisements from Minyan members to help cover the cost of publication, which committee members appeared to find a good suggestion.

§ Although the Temple has not yet connected its web site’s “Library Minyan” link to our new Minyan web site (it will soon), our new site is now fully operative at We have begun posting the weekly D’rashot and Divrei Torah.

§ The special Kiddush honoring Joel Grossman on Dec. 11 will be the first of roughly monthly kiddushes over the next 6-7 months co-sponsored by the Minyan. Individuals are encouraged to join in co-sponsoring these events.

The general consensus of the meeting was to make permanent the interim arrangement we adopted with respect to the prayer for cholim.

The major purpose of the meeting was to discuss appropriate steps to take in light of Joel Grossman’s decision to step down as the coordinator of the High Holiday services. Joel provided the meeting with an overview of his thoughts. He suggested that a number of individuals be enlisted to cover different aspects of the services and noted that he had more and more help from others in the past few years. He specifically suggested that we enlist some of the younger members of the Minyan to blow shofar and that we revisit decisions with respect to certain portions of the Yom Kippur liturgy.

The consensus of the meeting was that this was an appropriate time to consider not only the issue of replacing Joel but some of the other longer-term issues with respect to the High Holidays. Two committees were formed. The first will focus on the specific needs for both personnel and the content of the services for this coming year. Bob Braun, Esther Brenner and Norm Saiger agreed to serve on this committee. The second committee will focus on longer-term issues, including a possible choice of a new mahzor and the format and content of the services. Rachel Green and Neal Scheindlin agreed to serve. I will make several announcements at Shabbat services inviting the general membership of the Minyan to join these committees. We agreed that the targeted time for the first committee’s report would be no later than late spring.

Neal Scheindlin has agreed to undertake the development of a Gabbai’s handbook. Every member of the Committee is urged to forward to me or Neal any suggestions as to matters that should be included in the handbook. One of the items which will be included will be the specific concerns which relate to our services on the Chagim.

It was agreed that at our next meeting, one item on the agenda will be a policy with respect to which aspects of the liturgy are subject to the option of the service leader and which are unchangeable as part of Minyan liturgy.

As part of our broader efforts to encourage wider participation in the Minyan, a short handout will be distributed soon soliciting feedback from members on their skills and interests in leading parts of the service.

My thanks to all who attended and participated in the meeting.

Bob Malina

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