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Bnai Keshet Congregational Ballot - June 2013 1. Election of Vice President for Finance For Vice President – Finance: Harvey Susswein



(Should the by-laws modifications also appearing on this ballot, by which this office is renamed, not be approved, this office will continue to be called “Treasurer.”)

Harvey and his wife Jane are long-time members of Bnai Keshet. Harvey has served in a variety of roles for the synagogue: co-president, chair of the sanctuary Capital Campaign, former Roabst “honoree” with Jane, and treasurer for five years. Being old, however, he has forgotten all this (shh, don’t tell him!) and agreed to take on VP for Finance. Harvey is retired from a career in systems integration, where he oversaw the development of large software solutions for corporations and governments. These days, he can be found fishing in the Catskills and other more exotic locales, jogging slowly but diligently through the streets of Montclair, and at Montclair State, where he enjoys taking courses. Harvey organized a humanist Shabbat at Bnai Keshet a few years ago, and for several years led a discussion group of Bnai Keshet members exploring alternatives to the supernatural theology of our liturgy. He and Jane love being part of the Bnai Keshet community where they value many lifelong friendships.

2. Election of Vice President for Tikkun Olam For Vice President – Tikkum Olam: Yael Silverberg-Urian



(Should the by-laws modifications also appearing on this ballot, by which is created a new executive board position to lead the shul’s tikkun olam work, not be approved, this work will continue to be done by Yael under the leadership of the Vice President for Religious Life and Tikkun Olam.) Doing the work of social justice fits well into Yael's life. Like so many other people, Yael wears many hats. She is a mom of a wonderful teen – Tova Silverberg-Urian. She is the wife of a dynamic woman – Tacy Silverberg-Urian. She is a midwife, having delivered around 2,500 babies. She is a person who has dedicated much of her life to overcoming the "isms" that keep injustices alive. And she is a Jewish woman who strongly identifies her Judaism as the source of her values and commitments. Yael looks forward to helping ignite our community's passion for the necessary work of repairing our world!

3. Approval of Rabbi Ariann’s contract



As you know, at the end of the month Rabbi Darby will depart to assume a pulpit of his own at Congregation Kerem Shalom in Concord, MA. We celebrate his time with us and wish him all continuing good things with his lucky new community. Rabbi Darby’s responsibilities will be picked up, in the main, by Rabbi Elliott. But Rabbi Ariann, whom we have come to love and admire during her two years with us, will be moving into a somewhat new role, assuming formal responsibility for some of the traditional rabbinic responsibilities (service-leading, pastoral counseling, life-cycle events) at BK. In so doing, she will transition from being a rabbi at BK to being, formally and officially, one of BK’s rabbis. She will not be leaving behind her role as our Director of Congregational Learning, in which she has done such wonderful work. Rather, she will have a joint title, Assistant Rabbi & Director of Congregational Learning, and will continue to devote approximately 75% of her time to our allages education program. As BK draws near the conclusion of our year studying and celebrating the congregational value of brit, we celebrate this new brit between our community and Rabbi Ariann. Rabbi Ariann’s proposed contract is for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2013, as BK’s Assistant Rabbi & Director of Congregational Learning. It has the strong and unanimous support of Rabbi Elliott and the Board of Trustees.

4. Approval of By-laws Modifications



The following summarizes the proposed modifications to BK’s by-laws and the reasoning supporting them: 

Create a new Executive Board position of Vice President – Tikkun Olam, responsible for “expanding, overseeing and coordinating all the tikkun olam-related activities of the congregation,” and change the name of the position now called “Vice President – Religious Life & Tikkun Olam” to “Vice President – Religious Life,” o to bring greater focus and attention to BK’s vibrant tikkun olam work, and in acknowledgment of the fact that although our tikkun olam efforts emerge, for 2

many congregants, from our religious commitments, combining both areas creates too large a portfolio for one person to manage. 

Change the name of the position now called “Treasurer” to “Vice President – Finance,” o to parallel the other executive board positions and permit the Vice President, if desired and in conjunction with the President(s), to appoint someone as “Treasurer” to share some of the important duties in this area as the congregation grows in number and its finances grow in complexity.

Change the name of the position now called “Secretary” to “Vice President – Communications,” o because “Secretary” sounds too “Mad Men” and the proposed revised title more accurately reflects the responsibilities of the role.

Change the name of the position now called “Vice President – Membership and Community Development” to “Vice President – Membership and Community Engagement,” and adding “deepening the engagement of all congregants with the life of the congregation” to the responsibilities of the position, o because engaging the community in the life of the shul is at the heart of the role.

To view the proposed modifications as tracked on the by-laws in their current form, click here: The proposed modifications have the unanimous support of Rabbi Elliott and the Board of Trustees.


Bk congregational ballot 6 17 2013  

Absentee/Proxy Ballot