Board Meeting Minutes

TEMPLE BETH EL, January 22, 2017

The meeting was called to order at 10:40 am by Sharon Burke, Treasurer. Sharon explained that she was the highest ranking serving officer remaining at the temple and was therefore conducting the meeting. The minutes of the last congregation meeting were not organized sufficiently to present to the meeting. Sharon reported that the congregation is continuing to do a good job conducting Saturday morning services. Friday night services had been tried but were discontinued due to a lack of participation for various reasons. The congregation suspended services in July and August since a large portion of the minyan presence was from snowbirds. Sharon reported that she and Barry had hosted the rabbi who was hired for the High Holidays last year because of a hurricane. She reported that the treasurer’s duties had been fully completed and that there was a healthy balance in the accounts.

Sharon began a discussion of the future of the temple. She indicated concerns because of the small size of the congregation, the lack of new members and the advancing ages of the membership. Membership has declined due to deaths and other reasons. She pointed out that there were several officer positions that were vacant. She reported that it was not possible to hold programs for the members on several occasions because there were too few people able to do the planning and execution. She suggested that a part-time paid administrator could help keep the temple running. The lease on the temple building comes up for renewal in October.

Steve Brand discussed challenges to remaining open such as whether the temple could continue to operate on a full-time basis, whether the temple provided sufficient benefits for the members and whether the temple is engaging enough to attract new members.

Bruce Chudacoff remarked that his congregation in Appleton, Wisconsin, had gone through similar issues and had been able to survive by continuing to provide part-time professional clergy, conducting programs for the members and instituting other similar measures. He proposed that the temple could continue for the foreseeable future with the skills of the membership in conducting services and reading from the Torah. He suggested that the temple could form an alliance with a larger congregation to take advantage of its internet presence and provide additional resources. Bruce proposed a Tu B’Shevat seder for February 11, a “meet the authors” program for March 12, a musical program and a program on growing up in Iraq. He discussed dealing with Purim and Pesach. He proposed that we set up our library in the lounge area. He proposed that the lease be extended. He mentioned the kitchen facilities, the current arrangement with the cantor and preparation for the High Holidays. He suggested that the temple has a sound basis to continue providing an effective community for the membership.

Israel Gopstein asked for details on some of the proposals and expressed concerns over the remaining size of the temple and whether it was practical to continue in operation.

Barry Burke further discussed concerns over the ability of the temple membership. He praised Dick Gortz’ efforts to beautify the current temple home. He discussed the question of whether the temple should be open during the full year or part only.

Steve Brand pointed out that the temple has the funds to continue in existence for as much as the next ten years with the funds on hand but the question remains that it is necessary to find a way to encourage the area’s small Jewish community to participate.

Sharon Burke pointed out that the temple’s membership in the Sarasota Synagogue Council was a vital relationship to continue.

Joan Olarsch presented the slate of officers and directors. Proposed were Bruce Chudacoff, president, Steve Brand, treasurer, Nancy Chudacoff, recording secretary, Dan Klein, director. The proposed officers and directors were unanimously elected.

Albert Sawdai gave a presentation in which he thanked the outgoing officers for their efforts, detailing many of their accomplishments of the past years to rounds of applause for each of them. He noted the efforts of Barry Burke as president for the past five years, selling the old building and establishing the current one. He thanked Dick Gortz for his efforts in helping to sell the old building, find and determine the interior design of the current one. He thanked Sharon Burke for her long term efforts as treasurer and as an administrator and an aide to our former cantor. He acknowledged the efforts of Judy Aronson as secretary and Bobbi Shuman for serving as corresponding secretary, e notifications and publicity for 25 years. He recognized Israel Gopstein’s efforts in dealing with the old building, formerly being president of the synagogue and his continuing role. He then installed the new officers and directors.

Bruce Chudacoff took over the conduct of the meeting and thanked the previous leadership of the temple for providing the foundation for continuation of the congregation.

It was agreed to send letters of thank you to the outgoing officers.

A request was made to purchase an additional 10 prayer books. Barry Burke indicated that he would obtain more books from his old congregation.

A motion was made, seconded and carried to adjourn the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,


Nancy Chudacoff, secretary




TEMPLE BETH EL, January 22, 2017

The meeting was called to order by President Bruce Chudacoff. Present were Bruce Chudacoff, Nancy Chudacoff, Barry Burke, Steve Brand, Karen Sawdai, Joan Olarsch.

The Board approved the Tu B’Shevat seder to take place on February 11, 2017. It will be free to the members. Advance reservations will be accepted. The cantor will have to be notified. It will be necessary to try to speed up the service to prepare for the seder. Karen Sawdai and Joan Olarsch will work on the menu and food for the seder. It will be necessary to create publicity for the seder with the e blast and other means.

It was determined that Bruce Chudacoff will meet with Israel Gopstein and Joe Sawdai to discuss possible changes in the service to shorten their length.

Discussion was had concerning the Growing up in Iraq program. It is tentatively scheduled for February 18 after the service combined with a luncheon.

Discussion was held concerning Purim which is on March 12. Joe Sawdai indicated that he and Israel could read the Magillah and it was agreed that this service will be combined with the “Meet the Authors” program.

It was agreed that Bruce Chudacoff would also pursue a music program to take place in April.

A discussion was held concerning services for Passover. It was agreed that the temple would schedule a service for the first day of Passover on April 11 and the last day, April 18 with Yizkor.

A discussion was held concerning Yizkor for Shavous in June but no decision was made on it.

A discussion was had concerning arrangements for the High Holidays. It was agreed that the temple would attempt to engage Rabbi Hannah Laner again. Bruce Chudacoff will contact her. Last year she was paid $5,000 plus up to $2,000 for expenses. Someone will have to assist in preparing for the services. It was suggested that during the lull between services the temple have an “ask the rabbi” session.

It was agreed that the Sisterhood could purchase a convection microwave oven for the kitchen.

Bruce Chudacoff announced that he would bring the library books into the lounge.

The phone message needs to be changed and updated monthly. Signature cards will be signed next Thursday for the bank account.

Dan Klein is the new webmaster. We will have to provide him with information for the website.

It was suggested that we prepare a priorities list for the future.

Regular meetings of the Board will be held at 9:30 am on the fourth Sunday of the month, beginning February 26, 2017.

Bruce Chudacoff announced that he expected to reinstitute having weekly d’var Torahs.

Discussion was held concerning the purchase of supplies for weekly kiddushes.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:50 pm.

Respectfully submitted,


Nancy Chudacoff, secretary

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