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April 16, 2014 | 16th Nisan 5774

Legal Advice for Congregations

The Chairman of the Board, Steve Sacks, created a Legal Committee in 2011. The Legal Committee is chaired by Norman Leopold and Carl Silverman. Norman and Carl have worked, in connection with other members of the Board of Trustees, in assisting congregations with legal issues. The Legal Committee does not serve as the congregations' legal counsel, but rather attempts to guide synagogue lay leaders with the various and divergent legal issues with which they are confronted on a regular basis. This advice is based upon Norman's and Carl's experiences with their own congregations as presidents and with their relationships created with other congregations while serving on the North American Board, as well as from their own law practices over many years. The issues addressed may often pertain to topics they have not previously dealt with and, in those instances, led them to confer with other colleagues on the North American Board to work with the congregational leaders seeking assistance. Norman and Carl have attempted to bring a Jewish component to all of their responses, so that the lay leadership fully grasps the sacred work that all of us are doing together.

The Legal Committee is looking for more attorneys and other committed and qualified volunteers all the time, and if anyone has an interest in working on the Legal Committee, please contact Norman or Carl. The Legal Committee has also found that interaction with other congregational leadership has enhanced their own relationships with their respective congregations, and given them a richer, and hopefully better perspective of many of those current issues with which the URJ congregations are grappling every day. They believe that the perspective also affords them the opportunity to explain the role of the URJ to others, and encourages those individuals serving their congregations providing great leadership today, to become active with, and great leaders in, our URJ and the Reform Movement tomorrow.

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