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FROM MEMBER TO BOARD MEMBER

A

LEA DE R

M AY

NOT

BE

APPOINTED

W I TH O U T

CONSULTING THE TA L M U D,

C O M M U N I T Y.

B ’ R AC H O T

55A

You have been asked to become a leader of your congregation and to serve on your board because you have displayed a commitment to your synagogue. Frequently this commitment is manifested by

  • A prior record of committee service.

  • An interest and participation in congregational activities, including education, worship, social, and cultural programs.

  • Attendance at religious services.

  • Demonstrated leadership in synagogue auxiliaries.

  • A dedication to Jewish knowledge and service to the Jewish community.

  • Achievements in the community at large.

  • Good judgment, skills, and experience in business, professional, or communal life.

  • Specific talents and abilities that may benefit the congregation.

  • A commitment to attend meetings, serve on committees, and be a constructive member of the group process, including a willingness and ability to accept board responsibilities.

  • An ability to see beyond one’s own “constituency” and work broadly for the benefit of the entire congregation.

  • Financial support of the congregation in accordance with one’s means.

  • An understanding of the goals and mission of the congregation.

Now that you are a member of the board, it is important for you to do everything possible to maximize board effectiveness. Defining purposes and developing policies and goals are tasks shared by the board in partnership with the Executive Committee and others, including any clergy and administrative staff members. An effective board makes policies that govern the daily life of the congregation, sets long-term planning goals, and develops good plans of implementation to support those goals.

You will be the most effective and make the maximum contribution if you do your homework and “learn the ropes.” Your congregation may have a board orientation program that will help you prepare for your new position. Some synagogue boards appoint a committee for board development to insure that board members are getting the training they need to fulfill their role.

It is appropriate and beneficial for you as a trustee to take the initiative and become active in planning for your own educational and informational needs. The following seven ways will help you prepare yourself to become an effective board member:

1. Read the constitution and bylaws of the congregation, which should describe the structure of the board, the functions of its standing committees, and how the congregation operates.

6 • UNION FOR REFORM JUDAISM

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