B’nei Mitzvah Handbook
B’nei Mitzvah Handbook Cover
B’nei Mitzvah Timeline
Covenant for Rabbinic Services
High Holy Days Tickets
High Holy Days Policies & Procedures
Rabbi and Pulpit
Religious Practices Committee Mission Statement
Reading names from Yahrzeit Board during Yizkor
B’nei Mitzvah Handbook (Download)
B’nei Mitzvah Handbook Cover (Download)
B’nei Mitzvah Timeline (Download)
Covenant For Rabbinic Services
As the lay leadership of a Jewish religious institution, we believe that among our most important decisions is the choice of a Rabbi and our relationship with that person is critical. The choice of a Rabbi impacts the future of our congregation in numerous important ways. And the relationship with our Rabbi, more than any other relationship, will set the tone and create the atmosphere within which we build our congregational life. With full awareness of the gravity of this undertaking, we herein set forth our intention to create and maintain a relationship with our Rabbi that is characterized by open communication, mutual trust, and continual growth.
Such a relationship must be guided by a commitment to the Temple Beth Or Mission Statement, bylaws, policies, and Long Range Plan, the URJ Guidelines for Rabbinical-Congregational Relationships, and the NCRCR Guidelines for Ongoing Mutual Review. It must also be grounded in clear and agreed-upon expectations for both parties, both formal and informal channels of communication, and a procedure for evaluating the relationship. Toward that end, the Governing Board of Temple Beth Or, 3215 Lombard Avenue, Everett, Washington, has established this Covenant for Rabbinic Services with Rabbi ______________________________________.
This Covenant is for the period beginning on ___________ and ending on ____________.
The role of the Rabbi in the life of our congregation is unique. The Rabbi is the spiritual leader of the congregation, but is also much more. The nature, type, and relevance of the Rabbi’s leadership role is key to every aspect of our congregational life. This special role makes the process of identifying covenant terms that are useful in evaluating our ongoing relationship with the Rabbi all the more challenging. While the Governing Board needs to be clear with the Rabbi about expectations, the Rabbi must have broad discretion in the particular ways in which those expectations are met. At the same time, the Governing Board and membership of the congregation must be cognizant of their role in the relationship with the Rabbi and must be willing to evaluate it as well.
Religious Services – Rabbi
The conduct of religious services is among the most important aspects of the spiritual leadership of the congregation. As the Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, I will strive to continually enhance the spiritual life of our congregation in the following ways:
- Provide leadership for at least 80% of Shabbat services held at TBO and will assist in arranging leadership for the remainder;
- Work with the Religious Practices Committee to schedule and conduct all appropriate holiday services and/or observances;
- Provide guidance, assistance, and expertise in meeting the congregation’s needs for prayer books and other liturgical materials (this includes consultation with the Religious Practices Committee to periodically update the “Light of Shabbat” and to explore and introduce new prayers, practices, or readings);
- Provide guidance, assistance, and expertise in developing “learners’ programs” or other welcoming programs for potential or new members in consultation with the Religious Practices and/or Membership Committees; and
- Provide guidance, assistance, and expertise in developing periodic “special services” for our younger members.
Religious Services – Congregation
It is the Rabbi’s responsibility to provide spiritual leadership to the congregation. It is the responsibility of the members of Temple Beth Or to support the Rabbi in this task. As members of Temple Beth Or, we will continually strive to enhance the spiritual life of our congregation in the following ways:
- Make every effort to attend Shabbat and Holiday services as often as possible;
- Participate in services to the extent that we are able;
- In addition, lay leadership will continually strive to enhance the spiritual life of our congregation in the following ways:
- Participate in the development of services for Shabbat and Holidays;
- Ensure that each service has oneg providers and greeters;
- Participate in leading services to the extent of our abilities; and
- Assist the Rabbi in arranging for others to lead services in the Rabbi’s absence.
Life-Cycle Events – Rabbi
Judaism provides us with religious meaning and a spiritual context for understanding both the joys and sorrows of our lives. As our spiritual leader, the Rabbi is in a unique position to help celebrate joyous occasions and to mourn the sorrowful ones. As the Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, I will:
- Officiate at all life-cycle events at Temple Beth Or except during scheduled periods of absence from the area for professional or personal reasons;
- Provide guidance, assistance, and expertise in developing appropriate and meaningful ceremonies or services for these events;
- Visit the bedside of hospitalized members as appropriate;
- Provide guidance, assistance, and expertise to the work of the Bereavement Committee; and
- Provide support, guidance, assistance, and expertise to the work of the Mitzvah Corps.
Life-Cycle Event – Congregation
As a Jewish community, it is essential that the congregation provide a Jewish religious context for the celebration or the mourning for important life-cycle events in the lives of members. As members of Temple Beth Or, we will:
Attend and participate in services or ceremonies commemorating significant events in the lives of Temple Member families; and
- Work with the Mitzvah Corps and the rabbi to support member families that are in need or in crisis.
- In addition, the lay leadership will:
- Assist the President of the Governing Board in keeping the Rabbi informed of significant events in the lives of congregation members.
Youth Education – Rabbi
Our children are key to our future and to the future of the wider Jewish community. Nothing is more important to the survival of Judaism than the maintenance and enhancement of a vibrant and exciting Youth Education program. The Youth Education Program at Temple Beth Or is comprised of four distinct and equally important components; the religious school (grades K through 6), the Hebrew school, B’nei Mitzvah preparation, and Confirmation preparation.
As Rabbi and as Principal of the Temple Beth Or Religious and Hebrew Schools, I will work with the Youth Education Committee, the Religious School Administrator, and Religious and Hebrew School Teachers to achieve the goals of the Schools in the following ways:
- Design the scope and sequence of Religious and Hebrew School curricula for all grade levels;
- Research and recommend the purchase of textbooks, references, and other educational materials;
- Teach upper-level Hebrew courses;
- Jointly lead pre-session teacher orientation programs with the Religious School Administrator;
- Lead assembly each week;
- Provide teachers with the support they need to effectively educate including;
- serving as a resource for teachers,
- review teacher-prepared lesson plans and offer constructive advice;
- conduct frequent visits to classrooms and assistance to teachers;
- assist teachers with classroom management when needed;
- review and sign teacher prepared student midterm and final progress reports;
- attend regular Religious and Hebrew School staff meetings and planning sessions;
- Prepare both midterm and final teacher evaluations;
- Assist in the recruitment, hiring, and termination (when needed) of teachers; and
- Conduct parent conferences when needed or desired.
B’nei Mitzvah Preparation
As Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, I will take a leadership role in preparing young congregants as they prepare for their Bat or Bar Mitzvah services in the following ways.
- Teach the B’nei Mitzvah class;
- Oversee the educational process as students reach the age of B’nei Mitzvah to ensure that they are properly prepared for their new life as a responsible Jew as well as for their B’nei Mitzvah service; and
- Provide educational, emotional, and spiritual support to the Bar or Bat Mitzvah and their parents or guardians through the process of preparation.
As the Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, I will take a leadership role in preparing young congregants as they prepare for confirmation in the following ways.
- Prepare curricula, schedule, and teach the Temple’s confirmation class;
- Meet regularly with the Adult Education Committee to constantly improve ways of introducing young people to an adulthood of continual Jewish learning and growth; and
- Provide for the emotional and spiritual support of the confirmation student and her or his family through the process of preparation.
Youth Education – Congregation
It is, first and foremost, the responsibility of parents to instill in our children the distinctive beliefs, rituals, traditions, and values of Judaism. We also recognize the key role that the congregation plays in preserving Judaism into the next generation. As members and parents of the children of Temple Beth Or, we will assist in the Jewish education of our children in the following way:
- Ensure that our children attend classes to the extent possible;
- Ensure that our children have time, space, and encouragement for Jewish study;
- For those that are able, teach or co-teach Religious School or Hebrew classes;
- Participate in parent/teacher conferences when needed or desired; and
- Parents will lend volunteer assistance when needed especially for large events or projects.
Adult Education – Rabbi
A commitment to life long learning is at the core of what it means to be Jewish. Throughout the ages, synagogues have been called “houses of study” as well as “houses of prayer”. The Rabbi has, by virtue of his unique training and experience, much to offer the congregation as they work toward an ever-expanding program of Jewish learning. The Rabbi is the congregation’s most important resource for Jewish education. As Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, I will:
- Work closely with the Adult Education Committee and others to design and implement a comprehensive program of adult Jewish education;
- Lend expertise and experience to the creation of new and entertaining, as well as, educational seminars, courses, and programs;
- Bring this unique educational background and teaching skill to the continual expansion of the knowledge horizon of congregation members;
- Periodically teach an Adult B’nei Mitzvah class and assist in the preparation of a special service to honor adult b’nei Mitzvah; and
- Use various opportunities and methodologies to educate, including:
- preparing for and teaching adult education seminars and courses, particularly on Introduction to Judaism;
- prepare d’varim Torah that are well-defined and educational;
- regularly prepare articles for the Oracle that are educational and interesting; and
- bring a concern for Jewish education to all Board, Committee, and other Temple related meetings.
Adult Education – Congregation
All the Rabbi’s efforts will be for nothing without a strong commitment to Jewish learning among the lay leadership and members of the congregation. As members of Temple Beth Or, we will:
- Participate in Adult Education seminars, courses, and programs;
- Assist with planning and arranging such programs; and
- Assist in developing and implementing new programs.
Communication – Rabbi
We consider communication between the Rabbi, the lay leadership, and the Temple membership to be essential to our life together. As Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, I will:
- Participate in the creation of the monthly Temple newsletter, The ORacle, by preparing or arranging for the preparation of a “From Our Rabbi” article for each issue and by making constructive comments or suggestions regarding content, layout, and distribution;
- Prepare and deliver reports at monthly Governing Board meetings;
- Prepare and deliver reports at semi-annual General Membership meetings; and
- Prepare and deliver sermons at weekly services.
Communication – Congregation
As lay leaders and members of Temple Beth Or, we will do our best to ensure good communication between the Rabbi, the lay leadership and the Temple membership in the following ways:
- Provide a monthly Temple newsletter, The ORacle, to communicate with the membership;
- Provide regular and timely information from the President and each committee on the activities and services offered by the Temple;
- Do our part to ensure that the lay leadership of the Temple has up-to-date information about the membership; and
- Share that information with the Rabbi on a regular basis.
Lay Leadership Support – Rabbi
As the lay leadership of the Temple, it is critical that the Rabbi provides guidance of a distinctively Jewish religious nature to all aspects of our management of the Temple. As Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, I will support the Temple lay leadership in the following ways.
- Provide guidance and constructive suggestions to the work of each standing committee of the Temple as needed;
- Serve as a resource of Jewish spirituality and knowledge to the work of each Committee;
- Assist with membership activities by responding to inquiries from prospective members through telephone follow up;
- Assist in the development of prospective member information.
- Participate in prospective member programming and activities.
Rabbi Support – Lay Leadership
As Lay Leaders of Temple Beth Or, we will support the Rabbi’s leadership and participation in Temple management in the following ways:
- Ensure that the Rabbi is aware of all committee meetings and events;
- Do our best to ensure that such meetings are constructive and fruitful; and
- Arrange regular meetings between the President of the Temple and the Rabbi to consider the welfare of the congregation with the goal of keeping each other informed of the views of individuals and groups within the congregation, and of significant events in the lives of congregants.
Community Relations – Rabbi
While the Governing Board and membership of Temple Beth Or expect to be the Rabbi’s first priority, it is important to maintain good communication links with the wider Jewish Community as well as with the non-Jewish communities. The Rabbi must play a key role in our relations with both. As Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, I will
- Call on the ill of body or soul, either in person or by phone (whichever seems most appropriate) including those in the hospital, at home, or in extended care facilities;
- Visit family members in mourning providing them with spiritual and Rabbinic leadership as is appropriate;
- Inform the Mitzvah Corps Chair as soon as possible of any illness or need in the community;
- Assist with the preparation of media releases, advertisements, and other media productions to communicate with the Jewish and non-Jewish communities outside the Temple;
- Represent the Temple to the larger Jewish Community by participating in the business of the Regional and National URJ and CCAR, as well as other groups associations in the region to the extent possible within the context of congregational budget constraints; and
- Represent the Temple to the community by participating in associations of religious institutions and area clergy.
Community Relations – Congregation
It is also important for the Lay Leadership and the membership to assist and support the Rabbi in relating to both the wider Jewish Community and the non-Jewish communities. As the Lay Leadership and members of Temple Beth Or, we will support and assist with promoting good relations with those outside of the congregation in the following ways:
- Take responsibility for preparing and distributing media releases, advertisements, and other media productions to communicate with the Jewish and non-Jewish communities outside the Temple;
- The Mitzvah Corps Chair will notify the Rabbi of any illnesses or deaths in the congregation.
- The Mitzvah Corps Chair will work with the Rabbi to identify what names should be included in the Refuach Sh’lema prayer at Shabbat and other services.
- Support and provide funding for the Rabbi’s participation in the business of the Regional and National URJ and CCAR, as well as other groups associations in the region; and’
- Support and assist the Rabbi’s participation in associations of religious institutions and area clergy.
Availability and Member Support – Rabbi
The position of Rabbi is a 24-hour per day job. With due consideration for the Rabbi’s privacy and personal time, the Rabbi is expected to be available to congregation members except during scheduled time out of the area for professional or personal reasons. As Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, I will be available in the following ways:
Maintain regularly scheduled and consistent office hours at the Temple during which congregants may call and drop in;
- Respond 24-hours a day in the event of a crisis or an emergency in the lives of Temple members;
- Work closely with the office staff for the smooth operation of the Temple and its activities;
- Serve as an emotional and spiritual resource to the congregation by providing, arranging for, or referring couples or individuals for marriage, family, or individual counseling; and
- Attend and participate in meetings of the Governing Board unless excused by the President of the Governing Board.
Scheduling, Study Time, and Personal Time – Congregation
While the Temple fully expects that the Rabbi will make Temple business the first priority, the President and Board recognize that to be of good service to our congregation, the Rabbi must have the time and the space for rejuvenation. As Lay Leaders and members of Temple Beth Or, we:
- Recognize that the Rabbi is a professional and needs the flexibility to create a schedule that works for that person as well as for the Congregation;
- Will make every effort to schedule appointments with the Rabbi ahead of time to make best possible use of the Rabbi’s time;
- Will check a Jewish calendar before scheduling any programs, classes or meetings to ensure that they do not conflict with any Jewish holidays observed in the Reform tradition;
- Recognize the Rabbi’s need for a program of regular study in both Jewish and secular subject areas and will to our best to ensure that the Rabbi has the time and the means to do so; and
- Recognize the need for the Rabbi to find personal and spiritual fulfillment in other aspects of the Rabbi’s life. We will do our best to ensure that the Rabbi has the time and the means to do so.
Temple Beth Or shall have the right to terminate this Covenant in the event of the Rabbi’s gross misconduct (such misconduct as defined by the Central Conference of American Rabbis guidelines).
Mutual Review Process
As noted above, the relationship between the Rabbi and the Temple must be grounded in, among other things, both formal and informal channels of communication and by a procedure for evaluating the relationship. The Mutual Review Process, herein outlined, attempts to provide for that need. It is designed to assist in the development of attainable goals for the Temple, the Rabbi, and for the relationship between the two. It is intended to provide a means of regular, honest, and frank communication between the Congregation, the Lay Leadership, and the Rabbi. A Mutual Review Committee, formed expressly for this purpose should conduct the process. This review process shall be guided by the highest Jewish values.
The Mutual review Committee will simultaneously prepare an evaluation of the Rabbi, the lay leadership and congregation, and the relationship between them, based upon this Covenant and upon the previously agreed upon goals for the Congregation, and comments and input from the Governing Board. The Mutual Review Committee shall include The President (who shall serve as Chair); the Vice President, the Immediate Past-President; the Chair of the Youth Education Committee; and the Chair of the Religious Practices Committee.
Each June the Liaison Committee consisting of the Immediate Past President, the President, Vice President, and the Rabbi will review progress made toward the goals and make minor revisions if necessary. Each January the Mutual Review Committee meets with the Rabbi to draft new goals. The Mutual Review Process will take place approximately mid-term on the Temple calendar (by no later than December 2006). The Mutual Review Process will take place mid-contract.
Step 1: The development of a set of clear and measurable goals for the duration of the Covenant. The creation of goals should begin with a review of the Temple’s Long Range Plan and should continue with the Rabbi and the Governing Board each devising its own list of goals. The Liaison Committee will then meet with the Rabbi and this leadership team will arrive at a common list of goals for both congregation and Rabbi.
Step 2: The Mutual Review process will begin with an announcement to the Governing Board by the President of the Board. Board Members will be invited to evaluate the performance of the Rabbi, the Board, the congregation, and the relationship among them. These evaluations will then form the basis of Mutual Review Process and will be made available to the Rabbi as part of that process. Neither these comments, nor any part of the Rabbi’s personnel record will be made public.
Step 3: The Rabbi shall evaluate his performance, the performance of the lay leadership and the congregation, and the relationship among them, based upon this Covenant and upon the previously agreed upon goals for the Congregation.
Step 4: The Mutual Review Committee and the Rabbi will meet to discuss the results of the process. They will draft a Mutual Review Goals Report that reflects their consensus summary of the goals and present that consensus to the Governing Board. If the Committee and the Rabbi are unable to agree, they will each present their own Report to the Governing Board.
As noted in the introduction, it has been our intention throughout this document to create and maintain a relationship with our Rabbi that is characterized by open communication, mutual trust, and continual growth. We have been guided throughout by a commitment to the Temple Beth Or Mission Statement, bylaws, policies, and Long Range Plan, the URJ Guidelines for Rabbinical-Congregational Relationships, and the NCRCR Guidelines for Ongoing Mutual Review. Finally by creating this Covenant between Temple Beth Or and Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman, we have attempted to ground this relationship in clear and agreed-upon expectations for both parties, both formal and informal channels of communication, and a procedure for evaluating the relationship.
Approved and agreed by the Governing Board of Temple Beth Or this of the month of
Approved and agreed by _______________________________ this ____ day of the month of ________,
Policy: High Holy Days Tickets
1. High Holy Days tickets are required; and are good for all the fall holidays, from S’lichot through Simchat Torah.
2. Tickets, with member names on them, will be issued automatically to all members in good standing, except babes-in-arms.
3. A master list of all tickets issued to members and non-members will be compiled.
4. Tickets are non-transferable. Only individuals whose name appears on them may (delete “only”) use them.
5. Included in the High Holy Day packet will be an order form for additional tickets, along with pricing list.
6. Non-member tickets will be priced as follows:
a. Out of town family (if members of another Jewish congregation): reciprocity applies.
b. Local family (all family who are not members of Temple Beth Or, including children 25 years and older): $50 suggested donation per person.
c. Others: $125 per person, Seniors – $100 per person, Students with ID – free, Military with ID – free.
d. No one will be turned away from worship services due to inability to pay. Financial hardship arrangements must be made with the Treasurer.
e. High Holy Days ticket fees will be applied toward membership dues, if application for membership is submitted prior to January 1 of the following year.
7. Non-members requesting tickets will be required to give us their name, address, telephone number, and email address.
8. The number of tickets issued will be limited, based on seating capacity.
9. If someone arrives for services without a ticket:
a. Member-in-good-standing: check off member list.
b. Non-member: take name, phone #, address. Check ID. Give envelope and suggested donation amount.
c. Non-members without tickets must check in with the person in charge of the “master list clipboard” – and must wait 5 minutes prior to the start of the service to be seated.
10. All those with tickets will be seated upon arrival. (details regarding special needs priority seating
in High Holy Days Misc. Policies and Procedures).
DATE OF BOARD REVISON AND APPROVAL: 9/28/05
High Holy Days Policies and Procedures
1) Members are encouraged to participate in the High Holy Day services. Service honors will be offered to targeted people prior to assigning honors.
2) Yizkor list – all names will be printed in the Yizkor brochure, but only the names of immediate family members (husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son) will be read aloud during the Yizkor service.
3) Temple Beth Or will conduct an annual High Holy Days Food Drive, with contributions going to the Volunteers of America Food Bank. Envelopes for Project MAZON, the Jewish Response to Hunger, will also be distributed.
4) High Holiday information will request that attendees refrain from using colognes or perfumes during the services.
5) Seating: There is no “reserved” seating, seating is on a first come – first served basis. Priority seating will be available only for those with physical needs. Seats will be held until 15 minutes prior to the beginning of services. Overflow seating with closed‑circuit video will be available downstairs.
6) Childcare and meal prices will be the same for members and non-members.
a) There will be 4 greeters per service for all of the major services.
b) Doors will be locked or monitored at the beginning of the service and those greeters who are downstairs may come upstairs. Upstairs doors remain monitored for late arrivals.
c) In addition to the greeters, there will a member of the Finance Committee or their designee in charge of the “clipboard” for each service. * *
d) This person will be in charge of: master lists for members and non-members, forms for walk-ins, envelopes for walk-ins, tickets for pick –up.
e) The ushers will assist people in finding seats, pass out extra books, and remove reserved signs 15 min. prior to services.
f) One-two people need to be responsible for the building between Yom Kippur morning and afternoon services.
a) Off-duty police, per usual.
b) Tickets mandatory, or check in with clipboard person.
c) Bags subject to search. No food bank bags inside.
d) Greeters per new guidelines.
e) “No Entry” signs on all doors except two designated entry doors.
f) All doors are locked or monitored during services.
g) Adult supervision of food bank truck at all times.
9) Administrative Assistant: High Holy Days Coordinator will create instructions/scripts for the
Administrative Assistant to use regarding the following:
a) Members who lost tickets. (Reissue and have ready for pick-up.)
b) Price lists for non-members (and make sure she understands categories)
c) Cut off dates for mailing.
d) Tracking # of tickets issued
10) High Holy Days Childcare Policy
a) Temple Beth Or Child Care Policy for Events will be followed.
b) Temple Beth Or will provide child care for children ages 1-11 years old for all High Holy Days services except S’lichot. We are not able to accommodate infants less than one year old.
c) Childcare space must be reserved and paid for in advance. Walk-in childcare will not be provided.
d) The following policies will be strictly enforced to insure the safety of all children.
- No child under the age of 12 will be allowed unaccompanied by an adult downstairs unless he/she is registered to be in childcare.
- All children in childcare will wear nametags.
- Children will not be allowed to leave without being signed out by a parent or guardian.
- Should any child cry for more than 10 minutes, parents will be asked to come downstairs.
- It is anticipated that the older children in childcare (approximately 9-11) will be spending part of the time in services. However, while they are downstairs, they will be encouraged to participate as “junior helpers” when High Holy Day projects are going on.
- Children older than childcare age will be asked to stay clear of the childcare areas.
DATE OF BOARD REVISON AND APPROVAL: 9/28/05
POLICY: Rabbi and Pulpit
The rabbi shall determine the proper procedures for life-cycle events in consultation with individual families.
No arrangements of any kind or scheduling of life-cycle activities shall be made by members without first consulting the rabbi for a firm commitment on the rabbi’s calendar.
The rabbi shall not be expected to officiate at ceremonies where either the ceremony or the procedure involved would be contrary to the rabbi’s convictions.
No rabbi or other member of the clergy shall occupy the pulpit of Temple Beth Or or officiate at life-cycle ceremonies in the Temple without the express invitation of the rabbi of the congregation.
Any life-cycle events for which others officiate during the absence of the rabbi of the congregation must correspond to procedures and standards set by the rabbi of the congregation.
DATE OF BOARD APPROVAL: 8/23/93
DATE OF GENERAL MEMBERSHIP APPROVAL: N/A
Religious Practices Committee Mission Statement
The Religious Practices Committee works in partnership with the Rabbi to serve the needs of the Temple’s religiously diverse community. The Committee’s mission is to oversee policies and practices for Shabbat, holidays, life cycle events, and ritual observances. This would include but not be limited to such activities as:
• Helping to foster a meaningful and positive experience for b’nei mitzvah students.
• Arranging for Shabbat and holiday music and coordinating the scheduling of the resident soloist, guest soloists, and other religious service volunteers.
• Maintaining the Temple’s religious objects and prayer books.
• Making recommendations, when appropriate, to the Rabbi and the Board of Governors for changes in religious practices of the Temple.
DATE OF GOVERNING BOARD APPROVAL: December 07, 2005
POLICY: Shabbat Activities
When scheduling physical work to be done for the benefit of Temple Beth Or, the organizers should first consider a time other than Shabbat. We recognize that the availability of appropriate supervision is often the key to safe and effective work parties. If it is deemed necessary to schedule the work on Shabbat, participants should be recruited who feel personally comfortable with performing this activity on Shabbat. In addition, every effort should be made to provide other opportunities for those who prefer not to engage in physical labor on Shabbat to participate in contributing to the effort. We also recommend that the participants make a conscious effort to recognize that they are doing work for the benefit of the Jewish community; a prayer or study session would be an appropriate component of such activity.
We believe that many types of social events are appropriate Shabbat activities. Time spent relaxing and having fun as members of the Jewish community is very much in keeping with the spirit of Shabbat. Such activities help build and strengthen our Temple “family.” In discussing this issue, we have chosen to opt for the most inclusive approach which we hope will allow all our members to feel a part of the family. In planning social activities, serious consideration should be given to the reluctance some Jews feel regarding the use of money on Shabbat. We were unable to think of a social activity requiring money which could not as easily happen on another day as on Shabbat. Our proposed policy recommendation is that no Temple social events requiring each individual to spend money (e.g., to purchase tickets) be scheduled on Shabbat. It is not the intention of this policy to unduly restrict social/educational gatherings from occurring (e.g. a book club meeting at a restaurant) or to restrict an event where a vendor needs to be compensated on Shabbat.
There are many different types of events and activities that could be considered in the category of Social Justice, or Tzedakah. For activities that involve physical labor, our policy recommendation is that the approach outlined above be followed. We further recommend that activities which involve studying, teaching and learning should be considered entirely appropriate for Shabbat. Examples of such appropriate activities would include a workshop on the subject of ethical kashrut or tutoring homeless children and adults.
In considering the issue of fundraising activities, we have been mindful of the maxim that without bread there is no Torah. Nevertheless, we are in agreement with the statement from CCAR’s Responsum Committee that “the traditional proscription of commercial activity… is woven so deeply into the fabric of Shabbat observance that it is scarcely possible to imagine the Jewish Sabbath without it.” We therefore recommend that no Temple Beth Or fundraising activities be held on Shabbat. There are many different ways to contribute to the success of any fundraiser; we believe that individuals who are comfortable with doing setup work on Shabbat for an activity that will occur after Shabbat should be given that choice. We recommend that the participants make a conscious effort to recognize that they are doing work for the benefit of the Jewish community; a prayer or study session would be an appropriate component of such activity.
We recommend that any Temple-sponsored event or activity occurring on a Saturday evening include a havdalah service. We feel that the precise time of the havdalah is not the critical factor, but that it be performed to acknowledge the separation of Shabbat’s holy time from the rest of the week while creating another opportunity for our members to participate in Jewish ritual.
DATE OF BOARD APPROVAL: 4/12/03
DATE OF GENERAL MEMBERSHIP APPROVAL: N/A
Policy: Torah Lending
A Torah may be loaned to an established Jewish community with assurance that the Torah would be handled properly. Further, the Torah must be accompanied by a TBO member. Decisions will be made on a cast-by-case basis. Review of a request to borrow a Torah would be done by the Religious Practices committee with the Rabbi present. Temple Beth Or will always have priority for using the Torah.
DATE OF BOARD APPROVAL: 9/11/97
DATE OF GENERAL MEMBERSHIP APPROVAL: N/A
Policy: Reading names from Yahrzeit Board during Yizkor
All names from our Yahrzeit Board(s) be read during our Ytzkor services; even if those individuals no longer have family members at the Temple.
DATE OF GOVERNING BOARD APPROVAL: 9/4/07