Steering Committee  Minutes from June 27, 2016 meeting

The meeting was called to order by Rosh Sandra Lepson at approximately 7:35 at the Prum-Hess home.  Present were:  Sandra, AJ Happel, Jon Friedman, Mayer Brenner, Miriam Prum-Hess, and Susan Laemmle.  Allan Kokin and Ilana Grinblat were not able to attend.

As chair of the Communications Committee, and as specified in the Charter, Susan will take and disperse minutes.

The following items were discussed and/or decided upon:

I. COMBINED SERVICES FOR YOM TOV:  Sandra, Miriam and Mayer took part in three meetings of the TBA Ritual Committee.  A proposal was presented concerning combined services, but the Steering Committee asks that some changes be made to it.  The finalized document will be shared with the Library Minyan as a whole before the fall holy days.

II. HIGH HOLY DAYS: Mayer reported that the HHD committee has met, and he as Ritual Committee chair is serving as its head.  Also on the committee are Jennifer Low, Bob Braun, Paul Miller, Sandra Lepson, and Aron Wolf.  Mayer asked for suggestions on darshanim.


a. Kiddushes: Jon Friedman has conferred with Treasurer Dale Bodenstein and Kiddush Coordinator Carl Sunshine.  Jon raised questions about what it means for the Library Minyan to “co-sponsor” a Kiddush, arguing that a minimal contribution from the LM treasury should be made in every such case.  Others questioned such a requirement while agreeing that there should be transparency and also “truth in advertising” with regard to what is written on the website about kiddushes.  Sandra will work with Jon regarding his concerns, bringing Carl into the discussion.  Everyone on the SC agrees that Carl makes a huge contribution to the LM through his ability to solicit sponsorships and negotiate with the shul, and his overall commitment.

b. Rosh’s spending authority/accountability: It could be good for the Rosh to have a relatively small amount of money to spend without SC authorization, though with the need to report back.  Until that happens, the Rosh should not spend without SC approval, which can be obtained via email.

c. Encouring donations and (d) Budget: There seems to be some sentiment for creating a “real budget,” with line items for the various committees.  Having such a budget could encourage donations since people would notice particular items/programs that they’d like to help sponsor.  This could contribute to expanding the donor base beyond the relatively small pool of people who tend to provide donations.  Jon will draft such a budget — more formalized than the LM has had, at least in recent history.

AJ asked what amount the Education Committee could offer to speakers as an honorarium.  The consensus is that we provide an honorarium only to those who come outside TBA/LM. AJ and other committee chairs could be asked to submit an annual amount for the LM budget.

The Minyan Monthly could include a listing of upcoming co-sponsored kiddushes, soliciting additional individual/family contributions.

The oral announcing of birthdays and anniversaries at the beginning of each month remains controversial. Miriam suggested replacing this with an expanded Kiddush, toward which people with birthdays and anniversaries could make contributions.  Or the announcement format could continue along with the monthly expanded Kiddush.  The decision on this issue was postponed until after the fall holy days.

IV. SOCIAL ACTION PROJECTS: We were reminded that Social Action, with Dianne Shershow at its helm, currently fits within the Education Committee.  There appears to be consensus that a line item be developed for Social Action within LM budget, out of which recurring annual costs could be met; special appeals and projects still would require approval of the SC.

V. CHESED: There continues to be a problem of people’s Chesed needs falling between the cracks at TBA so that notification does not go out as it should.  Miriam believes that she representing the LM and David Kaplan representing TBA-Chesed should be notified whenever someone in need gives the green light to such notification. Sandra will include this area within her upcoming meeting with Rabbi Lucas.

Miriam will come up with a script for Cori Drasin to use when a congregants calls in with Chesed information; in particular, people should be asked if they would like this information to be made public so that other congregants can be attentive to them.

Jon suggested that a plan be developed for earthquakes and other such emergencies, whereby neighbors check on one another. He recommends that the LM take the lead on making this happen within TBA in a methodical manner.  Sandra requested that Jon formulate a proposal in this area, and bring it to a future SC meeting.

VI. POSSIBILITY OF JOINT PROGRAMMING WITH BEIT: Sandra spoke about her experience entering a BEIT service and finding it full of young families, as well as very warm and welcoming.  She suggested that there could be ways to program with BEIT in order to show them that the LM also has that kind of atmosphere.  It was suggested that there be a joint Musaf followed by joint Kiddush, but others felt that this was not sufficiently interactive or creative to make a meaningful difference. No conclusion was reached in this area.

VII. CALENDARING:  It is important for committees to put LM events onto the TBA calendar for the year.  There still seems to be some uncertainty about how to do this and who the appropriate contact person(s) is at TBA.  Susan was assured by Reyna several months ago that an orderly calendaring process is in place.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm.  There was not time to consider several additional items on the agenda:  (a) overview of committees’ work to date and future plans, and (b) strengthening communication with the shul and each other.

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