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      Annual General Meeting 2023
at Shaare Zion Beth-El (Cummings Hall)
Tuesday, October 31, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.
Dessert served at 6:30 p.m.
SZBE is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Meeting ID: 863 6761 1839
Passcode: 818850
You are cordially invited to join our President, Officers and Board of Directors at 7:00 p.m. for our Annual General meeting where you can meet the Board and share your vision for our synagogue.
Enclosed please find:
Due to the high cost of printing and distribution, our Financial Report is available (for members) at the synagogue office prior to the meeting. Anyone with questions is invited to address their specific question between 5:45-6:30 pm prior to the presentation of the Treasurer's Report.
We look forward to your participation.
Kenneth S. Adessky

Minutes from Annual General Meeting 2022

Minutes of AGM October 27th, 2022

The Annual General Meeting of Shaare Zion Beth-El Congregation (SZBE) took place on October 27th, 2022, at 7pm in the Cummings Hall and via video conference.

Gilla Geiger, SZBE President, chaired the meeting and welcomed all in attendance. G. Geiger opened with a message espousing optimism and hope for the upcoming 2022-2023 / 5783 year. She reiterated her commitment to the synagogue and its growth. A moment of silence for Shaare Zion Beth-El members who passed away this year and those who fell defending the State of Israel.

The head table was introduced: Barry Leff (interim senior Rabbi), Myriam Bensimon (Executive Director), Susan Abramowitz (First Vice President) Jimmy April (Treasurer), Suzanne Grant and Maxine Bercovici (Immediate Past Presidents). Also introduced were Yaffa Cohen and Jessica Hindley from the accounting firm Fuller Landau.

Jimmy April proceeded to share the treasurer’s report and copies of the financial statements were circulated.

Treasurer’s Report

Jimmy April welcomed everybody to the AGM.

The Treasurer reviewed this years’ financial statements. A copy of the financial statements were circulated to members in attendance and there was a short question and answer period subsequent to presentation prior to the motion asking for approval of the financial statements.

The financial statements were prepared as a review engagement by Fuller Landau accounting firm, who is represented tonight by Yaffa Cohen and Jessica Hindley.

Prior to the AGM, the financial statements were reviewed and approved by the Budget and Finance Committee and the Board.

On a motion made by Ken Adessky, seconded by Stephen Rapps, the financial statements for the year ended April 30, 2022 were approved.

Appointment of accountants

On a motion made by Mitchell Steinberg, seconded by Maxine Bercovici, the Fuller Landau accounting firm, were appointed as Shaare Zion Beth-El’s accountants for next fiscal year.

President’s Report

Gilla Geiger presented her report:

Last year began with Beth El joining Shaare Zion, and despite the pandemic restrictions that were ongoing, I watched our 2 communities come together. We are learning to live together and to find our footing so that SZBE is a home to us all.

We spent much of the year without a rabbi, but we were blessed to have Reverend Tannenbaum and Cantor Stotland work tirelessly to lead us seamlessly from Shabbat to Shabbat. I felt and feel lucky to have spent the year working with them. Karen Chana has also been apart of our team as is available for private consultations. 

In addition to our clergy, several weeks throughout the year we engaged Rabbi Lewittes to share either a Shabbat with us here at shul or for some online learning. Her wisdom and spiritual guidance helped us along the way.

Of course, near and dear to my heart is our twice daily minyan that allowed those saying kaddish to do so. We honored over 20 of our regular minyanaires with a plaque at one of our daily yummy breakfasts to thank them for their commitment to this noble tradition. 

As we saw more and more people return to shul in person, we celebrated 22 Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, 2 weddings and many Aufrufs and baby namings.

We worked diligently at our rabbi search. As you may or may not know, the last 2 years have been challenging for every synagogue in all of North America. The number of conservative rabbis versus the number of synagogues in North America looking for rabbis is disproportionate.

I believe we made the wise decision to hire Rabbi Leff as our interim rabbi. He began in July, and he led us through a wonderful and uplifting high holiday season. It was truly heart warming to see so many people back in shul. Thank you, Rabbi……

We have also been meeting regularly with Shaare Zedek and will be actively scheduling joint services and sharing programming schedules as we move forward together.

And this all brings us to our next phase and is an ideal time to begin our strategic plan. We want to understand what works and keep that, change what needs to be improved upon and add what will engage you. We want to look at new ways to make Judaism meaningful to you and your family. I am absolutely confident that we will find innovative ways to excite you.

Before Suzanne and Maxine present you with the new slate of officers and board of directors, I want to thank Corey Frenkiel and Jordan Eisenberg who will both be stepping down this year. The time that they and all the board members put into running SZBE is truly remarkable.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I will finish by thanking Myriam our ED, Rosanne our communications director, Seth and Roni, who work tirelessly in the office. Thank you also to Jonah Sofer who is our new program director. And of course, Gershon and his staff who spend hours a day taking care of us and our building.

I want to wish you all a healthy and happy year. Let us all help SZBE to thrive, connect and continue its spiritual journey for generations to come.

Election of Officers and Directors

S. Grant and M. Bercovici, co-chairs of the Nominating Committee, presented the 2022-2023 Slate of Directors and Officers. The names of all officers, directors and voting past presidents (3) were noted.

On a motion made by Ken Adessky, seconded by Peter Yaffe, the 2022 slate of officers and directors, as presented by the co-chairs of the Nominating Committee, was approved.

New Business

Two new business items were presented:

1. Strategic Plan – Susan Abramowitz (Chair) led the discussion and explained the overall purpose of the strategic plan and the committee’s goal which is to listen to SZBE members’ opinions about how the synagogue is operating and increase participation and engagement. A strategic committee is on place and a consulting firm (Coriphery Holistic Consulting Solutions) with great experience, has been hired to develop surveys and conduct interviews to build transparency within the SZBE community. The purpose of working with Coriphery and the formation of the strategic committee is to listen to the SZBE community at large. The best way to move forward as a congregation is to listen to the voices of congregants. We want to engage SZBE’s membership and increase active participation.  The strategic committee is comprised of the following members: Aron Gonshor, Greg Starr, Melanie Atcovitch, Joel Krasny, Rebecca Nadler, Stuart Frenkiel and Jonah Presser. As individuals, they represent our synagogue’s diversity. Susan Abramowitz thanked them for stepping up. Question arose about why we can’t get people to come to shul for daily services. Susan reiterated that the survey will eb an opportunity to table your questions and concerns.

2. Search Committee - Suzanne Grant and Maxine Bercovici (co-chairs) provided an update. Their committee is going to begin the search for a permanent rabbi. The committee members include Suzanne Grant, Maxine Bercovici as the Co-Chairs, Charlotte Dennick, Robert Joseph, Dahlia Klein, Carol Liverman, Wendy Rapps, Martin Scheim, Jason Tanny and Jeremy Wexler.

Good and Welfare

G. Geiger was thanked for the amazing work and dedication over the last year as president of the synagogue.

The meeting concluded at 7:45 pm.

Mon, 17 June 2024 11 Sivan 5784