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SHALOM µ Owlv; WELCOME TO THE BOARD

PICK FROM EACH OF YOUR TRIBES [THOSE] WHO ARE WISE, DISCERNING, AND EXPERIENCED, AND I WILL APPOINT THEM AS YOUR HEADS. DEUTERONOMY 1:13

Welcome to a unique board! As a trustee of a Reform synagogue, you are participating in an ancient tradition of dedication and service that dates back thousands of years.

Synagogues, initially founded to house prayer meetings, date back to the Babylonian Exile. There, during the beginning of the Diaspora, the guidance and teachings of the prophets helped to form the basis of congregational life. Eventually the synagogue became the exclusive location for worship and a communal center for assembly and study.

As a Reform synagogue leader, you are part of a continually evolving movement that began early in the nineteenth century in Germany during the Age of Jewish Emancipation and took root and flourished in the United States. Reform Judaism recognizes that our sacred heritage has evolved over the centuries and that in order for Judaism to survive, it must continue to evolve while also fulfilling its mission to be a center for worship, communal life, education, social action, and social service.

As a trustee, you are expected to enable your congregation to fulfill its mission by assuming the following responsibilities:

  • Accepting fiduciary duties.

  • Being a leader and role model.

  • Listening to the members of the synagogue.

  • Transforming the needs of the congregation into realistic goals.

  • Initiating programs.

  • Planning effectively for the future.

  • Establishing a sound organizational structure.

  • Fostering solid management practices.

This guide outlines your unique role and responsibilities as a trustee of a Reform synagogue, defines and sets priorities for board functions, and describes the resources that are available to your congregation through the Union for Reform Judaism (the “Union”). We hope that it will be a use- ful reference tool during your tenure as a board member of your synagogue.

UNION FOR REFORM JUDAISM • 5

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