Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting, Jan. 22, 2017

The meeting took place at the home of A.J. Happel and was called to order by Sandra Lepson at 10:30 am. Present were Sandra, Jon Friedman, Mayer Brenner, Allan Kokin, Ilana Grinblat, and Susan Laemmle.

Sandra explained that she wanted to use this meeting to review and to set goals for the year ahead.  She would be asking each person to report on their committee’s progress and its vision for the next period.

Topics were discussed in the following sequence:

  1. High Holiday Services 5777. Sandra reported that virtually everyone who spoke to her was happy with the services, and Ritual Chair Mayer Brenner agreed. Different voices led the kahal. People were positive about Michelle Stone’s role. Mayer felt that having a small group do the coordination, rather than an individual, worked well.  He expects to continue in this mode next HHDs.
  2. Succot & Simchat Torah. The LM gabbaim were happy that they did not have to work when services were upstairs. Sandra asked about feedback occasioned by there being a group of people who davened elsewhere, rather than in the ballroom, on the Second Day of Succot, but Mayer got no feedback and apparently there were no negative effects elsewhere in TBA. Sandra’s assertion that the ballroom makes sense for Succot because of the Hakafot was agreed to by others. She asked for confirmation that the LM can continue with “the deal” made with the shul, with the majority of combined services taking place in the chapel and those being the only ones for which the LM gabbaim are in charge.  That was confirmed.

Still, there are people who do not like being in the ballroom and who continue to ask why we are there.  Susan suggested that it would be important for people to be aware of the process that led to this decision, as well as to other decisions made by the Steering Committee under Sandra’s leadership — such as the recent decision to host Scholar in Residence Rabbi Ed Feld in the Chapel on Shabbat morning. Sandra and Susan will endeavor to communicate SC decisions via the Minyan Monthly under “Decisions of the LM Steering Committee.”

Ilana said that it would be helpful for those coordinating HHD, Succot, and Simchat Torah services to be in touch with one another. This would avoid duplication in asking the same people to fill rolls in those services.  Mayer replied that it would be easy to encourage such coordination.

Ilana was complimented for the important role she played in the Simchat Torah Puppet Show; she will continue to fulfill this role until she passes it on to someone else.  People were very happy with Joel Elkins presentation of his late father Herschel’s drash, and it was affirmed that people would very much like him to continue in the drash role; Sandra will contact him to make this request.

AJ added that as the LM continues to age, it could be increasingly difficult to fill various rolls, as people say no more frequently.

  1. TBA Building Plans.

Sandra reported on the sanctuary architect’s new plan, following which there will be little impact on TBA’s lower level.  Mayer provided details: In order to keep down costs, the floor of the sanctuary level will be raised, instead of lowered as originally planned. There are no plans at this point to displace LM services from the chapel during the sanctuary remodel.

Current building plans will first focus on school building; then the sanctuary, closing up balcony, so that it is a separately isolated acoustic space.  There is still nothing definitive on future programmatic use of that space.  Refurbishing of the chapel would be desirable and is “on the radar screen” of the shul, but there are no immediate plans regarding when this will occur.

  1. The New Siddur, Lev Shalem. On February 10-12, the siddur’s editor and TBA Scholar-in-Residence Rabbi Ed Feld will be teaching on the new siddur.

Sandra explained that Lev Shalem has been adopted by the shul and will begin being used during the Feld weekend. The Library Minyan has not yet made a decision on how to proceed.  People were encouraged by Sandra too review LS and report back on her.   She recommended that the LM make the switch at HHDs and not switch when there is B’nai Mitzvah or Torah Club.

After a good deal of discussion, a motion was put forward by Susan and seconded by Ilana, then refined through more discussion. Here are the elements of the final decision, which 5 out of 7 people voted “yes” on:

The Library Minyan will officially adopt Lev Shalem and begin using it on Shabbat Shuvah 5778 (Sept. 23, 2017).  Daveners will use Sim Shalom until then, and they will be asked to use Lev Shalem from then on.  A copy of Lev Shalem will be provided to each of the gabbaim (paid for by the LM) so that they can prepare for their page-calling role.  For a period of transition after Shabbat Shuvah, the gabbaim will be asked to call pages in both the new and old siddurim.  By Feb. 11, some copies of Lev Shalem will be made available on a table at the back of the Chapel.  After Sept. 23/Shabbat Shuvah, the situation will reverse: some copies of Sim Shalom will be available on the table for those who wish to continue using it during services.

Sandra will focus her “Rosh’s Corner” column in the February Minyan Monthly on the siddur decision.  She will also announce the decision after Shabbat services in early February, before the Rabbi Feld weekend. Additionally, after checking with Alisa, she will ask Rabbi Chorny to give a Drash on the topic in the LM.

It was pointed out that an oversized Leader’s Siddur should be ordered. It was also noted that we will need a “decision” from the LM Ritual Committee with regard to storing Lev Shalem under the seats, especially on the left side of the hall where the book racks are smaller.  Some may find it disrespectful to have prayerbooks in this location; we probably need a rabbinic decision that this is okay.

Mayer pointed out that there are some volumes of Sim Shalom that people would particularly like to preserve because of the dedications on their flyleaves.  These volumes should be culled out from the general mass and kept within the LM. He needs help looking through the books to find these; Jon Friedman volunteered to help perform this important task.

  1. Reports from Committee Chairs.
  2. Finance, Jon Friedman: Jon distributed a sheet entitled “Library Minyan Financial Highlights 2016” and explained it. It shows lower contributions and lower expenses this past year. Sandra will work with Carl Sunshine to enhance our Kiddush experience in 2017. Jon proposed the establishment of a “Kiddush Reserve Fund” of $800 to supplement 2017 kiddushes, and Allan seconded this motion. The motion passed 6 out of 7. These funds will come from the LM general fund, and they are to be spent as the Kiddush Coordinator sees fit.
  3. Gabbaim & Coordinators, Allan Kokin: We lost 2 gabbaim this past year: Baker and Miller. We now have two new Gabbaim: Oppenheim and Herman.  Both seem to be doing well and services are proceeding smoothly.  He is grateful to Jerry for having stepped in during his period of injury, and will take steps to formally express those thanks.
  4. Education, A.J. Happel: Education in the LM has been proceeding very well. There has been and will continue to be lots of co-sponsorship with the shul. This includes an Interfaith Panel led by Rabbi Dorff.
  5. Children & Youth, Ilana Grinblat: She was happy to help create a Simchat Torah that was good for children and their families. She joins Sandra in hoping that the LM can do a good job of bringing in and involving children and families. It was suggested that Ilana and Miriam Prum Hess, who chairs the Social & Hospitality Committee and could not attend the meeting, confer and cooperate.
  6. Communication, Susan: This committee spent a great deal of time and energy revising the LM website. There are no immediate plans for other big initiatives. This committee will continue to update the Information/Welcome Sheet and LM Business card, but full use of these communication vehicles would require a re-activated Membership Committee — or the devolving of that committee’s responsibilities onto another committee, such as Children & Youth and/or Social & Hospitality.

A good many people who attend the LM are not on the emailing list.  Sandra will discuss this problem with Bob to see what can be done.

Regarding how best to expand LM membership, Sandra reported that the shul administration had formerly been steering b’nai mitzvah families away from the LM, following their sense of our preference.  As part of current LM outreach to families, Sandra has now told them that we are happy to host b’nai mitzvah.  However, we need to know about three years in advance so we can better integrate the family into the minyan.

Regarding outreach to people holding auf-rufs who have not been previously connected to the LM: Jon asserted the need to make sure that those sent to the LM to celebrate an aufruf or other simcha  are adequately contributing to the LM kiddush. Sandra suggested that a clear structure is needed, and she’s sure this can be worked out.

The Meeting was adjourned at 12:10 pm.





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