Education Vice President
Table of Contents
Brief History of Congregation Beth Torah
Board of Directors
Specific Job Description
Org Chart excerpt
Pre & Post Transition Activities
Highlights of holding this position from past members
If you are reviewing this packet of information, you have been identified as a strong leader or future leader at Beth Torah. As a primarily lay led synagogue, Beth Torah depends on our volunteers and looks to them as the core of our community and central to our future. Required for the success of Beth Torah is the mutual respect between it and its volunteers. For you, it is an honor to have been asked to serve and, for Beth Torah, if you agree to serve, it will be an honor to have you in your new leadership role.
Please review all of the information in this packet carefully and bring any questions you may have to the member of the Leadership Development Committee (LDC) who gave it to you. In addition, you are encouraged to contact others who have held this position before you and get their insights. If you need contact information for such previous role-holders, please let the LDC member know.
Congregation Beth Torah is a welcoming, Conservative synagogue community. We inspire the lifelong Jewish journeys of individuals and families by promoting active participation in Jewish life and learning.
Brief History of Congregation Beth Torah
Congregation Beth Torah was founded in 1974 by a few families looking for a smaller, family-style Conservative synagogue. First, they met in members’ homes and then in borrowed and rented spaces from churches, schools and other houses of worship. Finally, in 1982, the growing congregation built a permanent facility. In 1995, after even more dynamic growth, the synagogue added an Education wing to house our premier Pre-School and Learning Center programs. A multi-purpose room was also added to hold junior congregation services, celebrations, lectures and youth activities. Beth Torah offers a state of the art facility for life cycle events and a sanctuary that evokes peace and tranquility.
Rabbi Rafi Cohen joined Beth Torah at our spiritual leader in 2011. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Rabbi Cohen is a second generation Conservative Rabbi. He earned his BA in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies with a focus on Contemporary Jewish Studies from Brandeis University in 2000. While in college, Rabbi Cohen studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has since attended the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and spent one year studying at the JTS’ Jerusalem campus. Rabbi Cohen earned his MA in Jewish Education in the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS where he was ordained in 2009.
During Rabbinical school he was awarded a Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellowship and served Shaaray Torah Synagogue in Canton, Ohio. Upon ordination, Rabbi Cohen became the Second Rabbi at the Jacksonville Jewish Center in Florida. Since joining Beth Torah, he has continued his advocacy for Israel, the environment, and enjoyment of Carlebach melodies on Shabbat.
Along with his rabbinic duties, Rabbi Cohen serves on the board of the Ann and Nate Levine Academy (a Solomon Schechter School), and is a member of The Clergy Circle of Friends of the Arava Institute, the Rabbinical Assembly and the Greater Dallas Rabbinic Association.
Rabbi Cohen is married to Michele Weber Cohen, originally from Philadelphia and a graduate of Rutgers University. An alumnus of USY Nativ academic year program in Israel, Michele earned her MS from Thomas Jefferson University and is a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator. Rabbi Cohen and his wife met at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires during a Shavuot retreat that each attended out of their love of tefillah, Jewish camping and community. Together, they enjoy biking and are passionate about connecting food, learning, and the environment. They are past participants in the Hazon Israel Bicycle Ride and a kosher, community supported Agriculture in the Bronx. Rabbi and Michele Cohen are the proud parents of Benjamin and Tal. Both Rabbi Cohen and Michele were involved in the genesis of the Greenfaith Committee at Rabbi Cohen’s former congregation and are excited about the caring community that exists at Beth Torah.
Board of Directors - Structure
Board of Directors - Responsibilities
Our synagogue is first and foremost a religious and spiritual community. Beth Torah is a terrific place to learn and practice our religion, as we strive to grow spiritually as individuals, as families, and as a community. Our synagogue is also a business in the sense that it must deal with the practical realities of the physical world.
Our Constitution is the document that specifies the framework around which the synagogue operates. It is composed of 16 Articles that define our operational organization and the key business processes we use to manage it. Example sections include: Membership, Dues, Privileges of Membership, required Meetings, and the composition of the Board of Directors, Officers, and Standing Committees.
The Board of Directors is the central team that is responsible for the complete management of the affairs of the congregation. The Board is responsible for annual budget, for approving the schedule of dues, tuition, fees, and initial building fund commitments. Our Board is made up of 32 people: the 9 officers of the Congregation, 10 elected (at-large) members, the immediate past-President, the presidents of Sisterhood and Men’s Club and the chairs of the 11 Standing Committees. In addition, ad-hoc committee chairs serve on the board in non-voting capacities. The current membership of the Board is listed on the Beth Torah web site under the “Administration – Lay Leadership” heading.
Standing Committees are as follows:
(a) Adult Education
(c) Strategic Planning
(f) Learning Center
The Board of Directors meets regularly each month, except during July, August, and December. All regular Board meetings are open to Beth Torah members.
There are four ways to get on the Board of Directors:
be nominated by the LDC as an officer or an at-large board member and approved as such by the Congregation at the annual meeting;
be appointed as Chairperson of a Standing Committee by the President and approved by the officers of the Congregation;
be appointed as Chairperson of an Ad-Hoc Committee by the President; or
be elected as President of Sisterhood or Men’s Club by the membership of those organizations.
The 9 officers and 5 of the at-large Board members are elected at the annual meeting each May. The nominees for all positions elected by the Congregation are selected by the 9 person independent Leadership Development Committee (LDC). This goes on year-round and the election slate must be presented at the April board meeting and May annual congregational meeting.
Serving on the Board is an important leadership responsibility. We count on our Board members to serve on one or more committees, to actively participate in and support the wide variety of programs, activities, and fundraisers presented by the various groups within the Synagogue, and to do the necessary homework to help us make the best decisions for Beth Torah’s future. Yes, it takes a significant commitment to serve on our Board but the rewards of knowing that you’ve helped guide our congregation toward a strong and successful future make it worth the necessary investments.
This listing is not intended to be a full listing nor as a set of mandatory requirements but should
be taken as a guidelines for how and when members of the will be asked to participate in areas
outside of their specific committee.
Individual Board Members may only hold one voting position at a time with role of committee
chair being preferred. At-Large positions will generally be a mix of new and highly experienced
• Oversee the affairs and business of the congregation and of all property belonging to Beth
• Be responsible for all expenditures and distribution of congregational funds and property.
• Maintain good financial standing with the congregation.
• Read and be familiar with CBT Constitution.
• Attend Board Meetings.
• Make a gift to the annual campaign.
• Serve as a Shabbat morning greeter at least once a year.
• Serve as greeter during the High Holidays
• At large board members may be asked to chair an ad-hoc committee or be involved heavily
in any committee that needs help.
• Inform the exec if willing to host a new member for a Shabbat Dinner in their home on the
2nd Shabbat of November and March
• Inform the exec if willing to make non solicitation phone calls to the congregation 1 month
before the High Holidays and starting 6 weeks after the high holidays.
• Regular participation in the important gathering times and major events in the life of the
synagogue and Learning Center. (e.g. Holiday celebrations and Consecration)
• Personal conduct that reflects the values and commitments of Congregation Beth Torah as
well as Conservative Judaism.
Note that if any elected Board Member misses 3 meetings in a row, with the exception of health
reasons, they may be asked to resign by the President.
All board members have a responsibility to responsibly and completely transition his/her responsibilities to his/her successor, including but not limited to knowledge transfer and taking phone calls from the successor for the first few months post transition.
From the Constitution
Section 1: The complete management of the affairs and business of the congregation and of all property belonging to it shall be vested in a Board of Directors to be constituted and empowered as hereinafter provided. The Board of Directors shall be responsible for all expenditures and distribution of congregational funds and property. The Board shall make such rules and regulations, as it may deem advisable for the furtherance of the general purposes of this Congregation.
Section 2: The Board of Directors shall be composed as follows:
The officers of the Congregation [“the executive committee”].
The Chairpersons of the Standing committees Each committee should have 1 vote and 1 board slot (co-chairs have to agree on vote). An alternate or a representative may present committee reports but will NOT be eligible to vote.
Ten (10) members elected by the general membership are considered at large directors and each should serve on at least one committee. Five directors are to be elected each year for a two-year term.
The immediate past president for a two (2) year term.He/She should also serve as advisor to the nominating committee for the next 2 years.
The Presidents of the Men's Club and Sisterhood provided that such people are members in good standing of the Congregation.
The Rabbi of the Congregation shall be an ex-officio member of the Board, without voting rights.
If any elected Board Member misses 3 meetings in a row, with the exception of health reasons, they may be asked to resign by the President.
Section 3: The Board of Directors shall authorize the borrowing of money to be used by the Congregation for its operations and acquisition or construction of property and other items designated by the Board, provided that no money may be borrowed in excess of one thousand dollars except by a two-thirds vote of the members of the Board.
Section 4: The Board of Directors shall meet regularly each month, except during the months of July, August and December, on such day as the President may designate. The agenda for all regular Board meetings shall be communicated to board members and posted on the Congregation’s website and bulletin board at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the members of the Board. No proxy vote shall be allowed.
Section 5: Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called at the President's discretion, or must be called upon receipt of the written request of seven (7) members of the Board. Said request shall state the reason for and the purpose of the meeting. In the event that the President fails to issue a call for a special board meeting within five (5) days after being properly requested to do so, any other Board member may issue such a call.
Section 6: In the event of any vacancy of an Elected Board member, a successor shall be nominated to complete the unexpired term by the President, subject to confirmation by the Executive Committee. The nominee must be approved by the majority of the Board of Directors at an open Board of Directors meeting to be held not later than the second regularly scheduled Board meeting after the position becomes vacant. Notice of the intended election shall be given in the agenda for that meeting.
Section 7: A Leadership Development Committee Chair (“the Chair”) shall be elected by the Board of Directors (“the Board”) at the June board meeting during even years. The Chair can be removed and replaced by a majority vote of the board.
The Chair shall provide a list of nominations for Executive Committee members and At-Large board members for the following year to the Board by the April Board meeting each year.
The Immediate Past President and one additional former Executive Committee member shall be members of the Leadership Development Committee (“the Committee”).
The Chair shall appoint six (6) members of the general membership (inclusive of the aforementioned immediate past president and one additional past executive committee member) and two alternates to the Committee. Committee members can be removed at the discretion of the chair.
Each member shall agree to serve and shall serve a 2 year term, three of the committee membersplus one alternate being appointed in odd years and three of the committee membersand one alternate being appointed in even years.
All committee members including the Chair shall have been members of the congregation for no less than three contiguous years and shall be in compliance with all financial agreements made with the synagogue.
No member of the Committee is to be an officer of the Congregation.
If any memberor alternate on the Committee is selected as a nominee for either the Executive Committee or an At-Large board position, such person shall immediately withdraw from membership of the Committee and shall be replaced by an alternate committee member as determined by the Chair.
At the annual meeting of the Congregation, theCommittee shall name and present the list of nominations for a vote to fill Executive Committee and At-Large board positions scheduled to expire on June 30th of that year.
In addition to the list presented by the Committee, any member in good standing may be nominated from the floor at the annual meeting of the Congregation to fill such position,.
For a member's name to be placed in nomination, the individual must either be present in person and accept, or have acknowledged to the President his or her acceptance of the nomination.
During the initial year the Committee is formed, three committee members and one alternate will be appointed by the Chair for a term of two years as per normal operating procedure and three additional committee members and one additional alternate will be appointed by the Chair for a term of one year.
The purpose of this one-time slate of appointees for a one year term is to ensure the committee is fully staffed from its inception. All of these appointees shall meet the aforementioned membership and financial criteria.
Section 8: Any officer or director may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the members of the Congregation who are present at a Congregational meeting called for that purpose in which a quorum is present. Such officer or director shall be given notice prior to the meeting at which his removal is to be voted upon.
ARTICLE VIII: Officers
Section 1: The officers of the Congregation shall consist of a President, and Executive Vice President, a Financial Vice President, four Vice Presidents, a Secretary, and a Treasurer, none of whom shall be related by blood or marriage. These officers shall comprise the Executive Committee of the Congregation and shall be responsible for the day to day administration of the Congregation subject to the guidance of the Board of Directors. The officers shall be elected for terms of one year, and may be re-elected twice. They shall not be eligible for four consecutive terms in the same office.
Section 2: Duties of Officers
(a) The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Congregation, responsible for enforcing the Constitution, rules, regulations and policies promulgated by the Board of Directors and general membership. He/she shall preside over all meetings of the Congregation and of the Board of Directors and shall sign all agreements, contracts, deeds and other documents on behalf of the Congregation pursuant to appropriate resolutions or directions of the general membership or the Board of Directors. The President shall be an ex- officio member of all committees.