Board Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
General Board Meeting
16 September 2020

Present:

Tamar Paltrow, President; Paul Della Maggiora, First Vice President; Miriam Kutcher, Second Vice President; Sue Lasser, Third Vice President; Mike Ungar, Financial Secretary; Lance Feldman, Treasurer; Terri Jermon, Past President; Cheryl Gleich, Sisterhood; Vic Alfieri, Men’s Club; Stephanie Alfieri, Religious School; Rabbi Mathew Marko.

 

Meeting called to order at 7:08pm.

Approval of the August Minutes: Paul made the motion to approve August minutes. Terri seconded the motion. Minutes were approved by unanimous vote.

 

Monthly Update and Committee Reports

  1. Hebrew School update – Sue

Sue shared the latest news with virtual Hebrew School. There are 14 students. Students’ attention spans are short. The engagement time with the younger kids are reduced. Hebrew lessons will be 1-1 to enable direct and productive interactions. There is an in-person Tashlech service on Day 2 of Rosh Hashana with over 20 families planning to participate.

 

Old Business

  1. Membership Photo Directory update - Miriam

  • Final photos should be received by next week. ACTION: Miriam will assemble the Directory over the next few weeks and share the draft with a few Board members to confirm names/photos are correct.

  1. High Holiday planning update - Paul

    • The dry run this past weekend was successful. We do need to organize the scheduling of ushers. ACTION: Vic to assign 2 ushers for each of the services. Rabbi will share emails.

    • We are expecting 35 people (27 inside the tent) for Day 1 Rosh Hashana. There are 36 for Yom Kippur (25 in the tent). We are light for Ne’ilah, so it would be helpful to have a few more in-person participants to ensure a minyan.

  2. USCJ update - Miriam

    • Miriam shared the August training update. We focused on outlining and crafting the Board Expectations document as part of our work to delegate and identify clear roles and responsibilities for the executive board, the general board, staff and committees. Our homework for this month is to craft detailed job descriptions for the main committees outlined in our by-laws. These foundational documents (living drafts) will become part of our “Board Hagaddah” – the collection of documents to enable and guide our Board structure, our governance, and our operating procedures.

  3. Land sale update – Mike/Lance

    • Background discussion: The land sale is the outcome to address our financial situation. We have $165K in loans, we are drawing down on our perpetual fund, and our dues/income has decreased over the last 5 years. Lance has raised concerns regarding the partial sale of the land impacting our future strategic vision. We need to have a strategic vision to align the best course of action. Lance raised the question of whether or not the sale of part of our land is potentially harmful for our long-term goals. This is not a subject addressed by the land committee. There are reservations about selling the land. We discussed the challenges of how to proceed forward with strategic planning concurrent to the current efforts. The land sale committee recommends we lower the price to $525K from $575K. Tamar shared her challenges with selling her own land on the same road. Rabbi shared his insights, including how COVID has changed how community is defined.

      1. VOTE: Mike made the motion to lower the price to $525K, but not to lower the price below that point. Sue seconded the motion. Two nay votes. The motion passed.

      2. ACTION: Miriam will reach out to USCJ to request strategic planning support. We would like to escalate this effort concurrent to our Board training, since the gap to address key issues is handicapping our ability to make the most appropriate recommendations for our community. Paul will take on leading this committee.

  4. Fundraising Update - Mike

    • We have $9K in commitments. We are in line with the 2019 fund raising. Lenny helped make calls with Mike.

 

 

 

New Business

  1. FEMA grants update - Rabbi
    We have been awarded another $50K for 2020. The historic registry issue has been resolved. We have received bids and have elected Glass Doctor. The 2019 FEMA grant will cover the bullet-proof glass around the sanctuary and a new backdoor into the Hebrew School. We do need to float the funds and the funds will be reimbursed net 30 days. The second new grant was scoped to replace all of the school classroom doors and the glass in the Heller chapel. The Rabbi recommends that we hold on the chapel and use the funds to upgrade our network. This would enable us to add more alarms and cameras to our system for security. It would be $15K for the network upgrade, cameras, WiFi, etc. The Board agreed with this adjustment to the 2020 grant. It will increase our monthly IT and security monitoring costs to $35/month from $20/month. The Financial Committee confirmed we can float the $50K for the 2019 grant. They noted that we need to manage one grant at a time in terms of cash flow.

 

  1. ShalomCloud update - Paul
    A demo will be set up. Miriam, Mike, Lance, Cheryl, Sue would like to join Paul for the demo. Lance inquired about QuickBooks replacement options. ACTION: Paul will re-evaluate our technology spend as part of the Technology Committee work to help reduce our monthly expenses.

 

  1. Security planning - Miriam
    David Rubenstein, a pending new member, is interested in supporting the detailed creation for a security protocol. ACTION: Miriam will connect David with Harry after the holidays. Paul would like to be involved in the discussion.

No agenda items noted for October at this point in time.

Paul recommended we continue to strive for one hour meetings.

Motion to adjourn made by Vic. Sue (and everyone else) seconded the motion. Meeting adjourned at 8:55pm.

 

 

 

 

Meeting Minutes
General Board Meeting
19 August 2020*

*Minutes Pending Acceptance at next board meeting.

Present:

Tamar Paltrow, President; Paul Della Maggiora, First Vice President; Miriam Kutcher, Second Vice President; Sue Lasser, Third Vice President; Mike Ungar, Financial Secretary; Lance Feldman, Treasurer; Terri Jermon, Past President; Lenny Reznick, At large; Cheryl Gleich, Sisterhood; Vic Alfieri, Men’s Club; Stephanie Alfieri, Religious School; Rabbi Mathew Marko; Rick Zepel, At Large.

 

Meeting called to order at 7:04pm.

Rabbi Marko - D’var Torah

Approval of the July Minutes: Terri made the motion to approve July minutes. Rick seconded the motion. Minutes were approved by unanimous vote.

 

Monthly Update and Committee Reports

  • The Rabbi confirmed we have verbal approval to receive the SLED grant funding for security this year.

 

Old Business

  1. Membership Photo Directory update

  • Jackie Shapiro will be the point of contact for synagogue photos. ACTION: Miriam will reach out to Jackie for high resolution images. Miriam will work with Mike on fundraising – incorporating into the High Holiday efforts.

  1. Land sale update

  • Feedback from developers is that the land is priced too high. Mike will work with the real estate agent to adjust the pricing to be market competitive.

  1. Blood Drive participation recap

  • Limited participation this year – only 6 donations. It may be worth adjusting the time slot for the next time – for example not on Sunday morning so the local Church members can participate. Miriam suggested including a Community Need notice in our weekly newsletter.

 

New Business

  1. High Holidays Planning & Prep Updates

Board Vote: Motion by Paul: A request to approve the committee recommendations to host services outside with safety measures in place and live video for remote participants with a budget of $11K. Motion seconded by Sue.

Discussion:

  1. The investment in the technology will be leveraged in the future. The tent will be used for future Shabbat services.

  2. Terri raised the issue of security. The Rabbi confirmed there are security cameras on the basketball court. The recommendation is to post surveillance signage. ACTION: Paul will take this recommendation back to the Committee along with any other actions we can take to protect the tent.

  3. Lenny asked about availability of the budget request. Mike noted that we’ve received money from bequests to support this effort ($5,500). We also have a special fund and the ability to fundraise as part of the High Holidays. There are members who are very committed to finding a way to host in-person services and they are willing to support a tent to enable this need.

VOTE – Approved by the Board by all, but one.

  • High Holidays schedule and prep – Paul has a working document to outline the roles and responsibilities for executing High Holidays. Paul requested help from the Board to assign roles for areas not yet supported. The Rabbi made recommendations for how to handle a few items.

  • Torah Reading/Blessings: Due to safety, only the Rabbi will read from the Torah right now. During the High Holidays, the Rabbi will allow members to “read” the Torah – even from Zoom – as the Rabbi will be quietly reciting at the Torah. This is also true for Aliyot honors. They can be remote, as the Rabbi will be next to the Torah to quietly recite the blessings.

 

  1. USCJ Training

  • Miriam highlighted our July training which was focused on identifying the strengths and growth areas for our Board. We drafted a Board Leadership vision. The next collective step is to all meet and create “job roles” and descriptions for each of us and for the Committees we have and need. Once we have this foundational material in place, we have the ability to grow volunteerism and engagement with our broader membership. The next meeting is next Wednesday, Aug 26th with USCJ. ACTION: Miriam will reach out to schedule a planning session in the next 1-2 months separately from our general Board meetings.

 

  1. Link to Board Minutes for Members

  • A few members have asked for access to our Board discussions and our minutes. We welcome the interest. ACTION: The Rabbi will create a private page (not visible) on our website to host the minutes. Miriam will send the Rabbi minutes from the start of this Board.

 

  1. Board Bima Duty -- Virtually

  • participation from the Board and a Board presence would be nice to add. The Board agrees this should be added. ACTION: Tamar will put together a schedule.

 

  1. High Holidays fundraising

  • Mike would like support to make phone calls. Several Board members offered to support to Mike. ACTION: Mike will create a script and coordinate a discussion to prep for calls.

 

  1. Remote Participation

  • How best to involve and include non-members who want to participate who are outside of Greenville. Currently Associate Members pay $500 if they are members of another synagogue. Paul suggests we have a longer discussion about how to involve interested people and how it can lead to future growth. The Institute for Southern Jewish Learning may be a resource or connection. ACTION: We will continue the discussion next month. Miriam will make a note to add creating virtual membership details to the overview of Membership committee work.

 

Open Items

  1. Calendar planning – Cheryl would like to plan Sisterhood activities and align with other. ACTION: Stephanie will share the link to our CBI calendar.

  2. The leased copier has been retired and taken away. The color laser printer is new and installed and much cheaper.

  3. The trash pick-up is now discounted.

  4. Slack – please make a point of checking Slack notifications over the month, so you don’t miss discussions.

 

Agenda items for the next meeting:

  • Remote participation - continued discussion

  • The next general Board meeting is Wednesday, September 16, 2020 @ 7pm.

 

Meeting Feedback

  • Let’s try to keep our monthly meetings to an hour as much as possible.

 

Meeting ended @ 8:30pm.

Congregation Beth Israel

General Board Meeting

July 15, 2020

 

Present: Tamar Paltrow, President; Paul Della Maggiora, First Vice President; Miriam Kutcher, Second Vice President; Mike Ungar, Financial Secretary; Lance Feldman, Treasurer; Terri Jermon, Past President; Cheryl Gleich, Sisterhood President; Harry Gleich, Board Member at Large; Lenny Reznik, Board Member at Large.  Paul presiding.

 

Old Business

The meeting opened with a question to Mike re land sale: does the continuing COVID crisis mean that the real estate market has changed? Mike said the realtor believes the market is softer but he thinks we can still get the price we wanted for the land, but we can’t know for sure until we get a bid for the land and begin to negotiate the sale.  He reminded us that that such an offer will be contingent on the buyer’s ability to get approval for their development plans.  One update to his written report is that the land has been split into two pieces; that action has to be registered with Greenville County.

 

Miriam encouraged everyone to sign up for the photo directory or indicate that you will submit a photo.  She is currently chasing down those who haven’t responded to her email.  She has added a “friends” and “sponsor” category for those who wish to contribute toward the cost of the directory, and there will also be a page for New Year’s greetings.  In response to questions, Miriam reported:

                1)            There is no dress code for the pictures

                2)            No contact information, only name and photo will be shown as some congregants are

                                concerned about sharing this info.

3)            Congregants are pleased that they will be getting the directory.

 

Terri reported that the Blood Drive will be held from 9:00AM to noon, not 9:00-1:00 as originally scheduled.  She said there are only four appointment slots unfilled and that she assumes walk-ins can be accommodated.  Social distancing is being carefully observed on the bus, and she will be standing by to clean shul bathrooms if someone needs to use one.  Other than that, no one will go into the building.  A “social distance social” may be scheduled at the same time as the blood drive if the weather cooperates.  CBI will receive $20 for each donation and donors will be tested for COVID antibodies and receive those results within a week.

 

High Holidays

 

Paul distributed a survey to the Board for our review before it is distributed to the congregation.  Once approved, the survey will be sent by email and those congregants who do not use computers will be surveyed by phone.  Paul asked that we approve the survey by Monday (7/20).  He further reported that:

1)  The committee is looking at reducing services to 1.5 hours, and if necessary, holding more than one service

2) Irene Goodman consulted ar doctor who says outdoor services that include masks and social distancing should be fine.

3) The rabbi and others are very concerned about in-person services, and the rabbi is in a high risk group.

 

Mike asked whether the decision about how to have services could be accelerated due to fundraising efforts, specifically the Aliyah sale.

 

Discussion followed.  It was suggested that fourteen people be tested two weeks prior to services so those 14 could serve as an in-person minyan.  Cheryl mentioned that Judy Kenter, wife of our former interim Rabbi Barry Kenter, said that at their shul only those 14 people would be in person, everyone else would be virtual.  Sue asked if aliyahs could be virtual; according to Rabbi Marko they cannot. Alternatives to the Aliyah Sale can be sought.

 

Executive Board Training

 

Miriam reminded us that the Exec Board’s next step in our five-part training is our meeting with USCJ next Wednesday, July 22 at 6:30PM.  There is homework (in Slack) to complete prior to the meeting.

 

As a result of training we will build useful job descriptions for all Board, Committee leaders, and staff positions, and describe key committees, among other goals.  We will be able to describe our community and gain insights on community building in small congregations similar to ours.  It was discussed that one of our priorities is providing a review for the rabbi and creating goals for the year with him.

 

Finally, we all provided feedback on the meeting, which was very positive.

Meeting Minutes
General Board Meeting
17 June 2020

Present:

Tamar Paltrow, President; Paul Della Maggiora, First Vice President; Miriam Kutcher, Second Vice President; Mike Ungar, Financial Secretary; Lance Feldman, Treasurer; Terri Jermon, Past President; Lenny Reznick, At large; Cheryl Gleich, Sisterhood; Stephanie Alfieri, Religious School; Rabbi Mathew Marko.

 

Meeting called to order at 7:11pm.

Paul made the motion to approve May minutes. Lenny seconded the motion. Minutes were approved.

 

New Business

  1. Rabbi Report
    Mike raised the question regarding High Holiday plans. The Rabbi noted fellow congregations are still hesitant to make decisions and will wait. Harry will take the lead on building a committee on planning for our congregation and they will report back to the Board. Mike recommended planning for more than one option, since it’s time to begin coordination efforts. ACTION: Harry will update the Board in Slack as soon as the group assembles and discusses options and a plan.

 

  1. Membership Fundraiser Plan
    Miriam highlighted a plan to build a new membership directory for the synagogue. The last photo version was completed in 2010. Alicia Armstrong will be the photographer and not charge for the photo sessions held outdoors at the synagogue this summer. The books will cost $36. Alicia will sell additional photos to families. The books will be printed in time for the High Holidays.  ACTION: Miriam will follow with Mike on additional fundraising incentives.

 

  1. Zoom for Hebrew School
    We will take advantage of the current offer to enable free access to all teachers for Zoom by setting up the teachers on CBI email aliases. This will enable everyone to have Zoom IDs for each class. ACTION: Marie will set up emails for Paul. Paul will finalize set up with Zoom and work with Stephanie and the teachers on using Zoom.

 

  1. Blood Connection
    Terri shared that the Blood Connection has contacted us about hosting a blood drive at the synagogue. They are also offering virus antibody testing as well as part of this drive. They are offering $20 gift cards as incentive for each donation. The Board is supportive of this needed program. ACTION: Terri will confirm timing and next steps with the Blood Connection team.

 

Old Business

  1. Property on Westview

Mike met with a relator yesterday and confirmed the pricing of $575K for the land. It will now go up for sale. As background, the City doesn’t want to get in the middle of the non-deeded small gap of land between us and the community behind us. It will be considered right-of-way and the new owner/developer will need to go before the City for approval for right-of-way access once it’s needed. : Mike will provide us with updates as they develop.

 

  1. USCJ Executive Board Training
    Training kicks off later in June with the USCJ team. ACTION: Executive Board members must complete pre-work assignments prior to June 23, 2020.

 

  1. Kitchen Support
    Melissa, who has managed our kitchen, will be returning to Greenville. For right now, we do not need kitchen support. We will not make any commitments right now. ACTION: Terri will reach out to catch up with Melissa.

 

Meeting ended @ 7:51pm.

Meeting Minutes
General Board Meeting
20 May 2020

Present:

Tamar Paltrow, President; Paul Della Maggiora, First Vice President; Miriam Kutcher, Second Vice President; Mike Ungar, Financial Secretary; Lance Feldman, Treasurer; Sue Lasser, Education; Terri Jermon, Past President; Rick Zepel, At large; Lenny Reznick, At large; Cheryl Gleich, Sisterhood; Vic Alfieri, Men’s Club; Stephanie Alfieri, Religious School; Rabbi Mathew Marko;

Harry Gleich, Committee Chair.

 

Meeting commenced at 7:10pm.

We began with introductions – noting our families, our neighborhoods, our time in Greenville and at CBI.

 

Urgent Business

  1. Opening of the Synagogue

Based on current information, we will not resume in person services in the short-term. With summer and the nicer weather in the evenings, the Rabbi suggested we consider setting up an outdoor area for Friday night services. For now we will watch what happens with church services resuming. We will also seek to learn more from USCJ recommendations. : The Rabbi, Harry and Tamar will add an update to the upcoming quarterly newsletter.

 

  1. Property on Westview

Mike provided an update after attending a meeting with the city council held on Monday night, May 18th. The neighborhood behind the synagogue had arguments to oppose the property. The city engineers will look at the original plot to review how and why the road was placed where it was/is to identify the issues. We are asked to reach out to city council leaders to explain the situation and our intent with the land sale. The second hearing is scheduled to take place on June 8th. : Mike will provide us with information and details for the outreach request. Everyone will reach out to their local city council leader.

 

  1. Summer Programming
    Stephanie and Tamar met to brainstorm summer programming ideas to bring together our families. More details to follow.

 

Previous Board Information

  1. Tamar is asking previous Board members to meet with current Board members to discuss and document responsibilities, expectation, limitations, etc. for each role. Previous Board members will help us identify commitments from previous roles which are now assigned to current Board members. ACTION: To former Board members, please meet and/or transfer any and all documentation, books, etc. to current Board members.

 

Current Board

  1. Meeting Organization Considerations

Tamar raised a number of considerations for us to discuss. Harry recommended Robert’s Rules for structure. Mike recommended that we consider a regular monthly cadence to keep on everyone’s calendars. Cheryl recommended we have Committee chairs prepare updates. Miriam suggested only questions be discussed during the meetings vs the full update and account noted in the reports. The expectation is that everyone will read the updates in advance of the meetings, so we don’t spend the time presenting the updates. ACTION: Note in your calendars -- we will keep the 3rd Wednesday of the month for our monthly general Board meetings.

 

  1. Board Member Expectations

Committee work will be an active part of our Board member responsibilities. ACTION: Tamar will gather the current Committee Chair information from Mindy Levy and share in Slack. ACTION: Board members without current committee responsibilities will note their interests for needed Committee support.

 

  1. Slack Application
    Slack is our new communication and report management tool. The recommendation is to download the application onto your computer, phone and/or tablet. Miriam and Paul are happy to provide guidance and support adding new “channels” for specific discussions and information. ACTION: Please download Slack and jump in!

 

  1. Rabbi’s Report
    Vic recommended supporting the Rabbi’s request to work remotely while he and Marie travel West to visit their grandbaby. ACTION: The Rabbi will provide additional specifics on their plans.

 

  1. Open Discussion
    Cheryl raised a concern that we don’t have access to member contact information. ACTION: Miriam will upload the phone list used to make calls over the last few months in a private Slack channel for our immediate use. ACTION: Paul will investigate a more comprehensive list with Linda and investigate software options designed for synagogues.

 

We also need to create a shared calendar and planning for 2020/2021. : The Rabbi, Tamar and Stephanie will connect and plan and enter information into a shared online calendar. : Terri will order paper calendars for a few who’ve requested them.

 

Meeting ended @ 8:30pm.

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