Congregation House of Israel
CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS FOR CONGREGATION HOUSE OF ISRAEL
Adopted: June 1989 - Amended June 1995 - Amended January 2011 - Amended July 2012
HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, ARKANSAS
Article I - Name
This Congregation shall be known as CONGREGATION HOUSE OF ISRAEL (BETH ISRAEL)
Article II - Purpose/Mission Statement
The purpose/mission of this Congregation is to promote the enduring and fundamental principles of
Judaism and to ensure the continuity of the Jewish people; to enable its adherents to develop a
relationship with God through communal worship, study and assembly; and to apply the principles of
Reform Judaism to the values and conduct of the individual, the family, and the society in which we live.
In consideration of the above, we hereby adopt the following Constitution and Bylaws.
Article III - National Affiliation
This Congregation shall affiliate with Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). It shall pay dues to the URJ and be
entitled to all services as well as privileges prescribed in the URJ Constitution and Bylaws.
Article IV - Ritual and Religious Practice
This Congregation shall interpret Judaism in the tradition of Reform Judaism including the study of
The official ritual of worship shall be according to a prayer book approved by the URJ.
This Congregation shall be guided in its religious practices by its Rabbi and the ritual committee as well
as by the interpretations of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). Its congregational
programs will be guided by its purpose/mission statement and by resolutions adopted by URJ Biennial
Article V - Membership
Any person of the Jewish faith, 18 years of age or over, may be elected to full membership upon
approval of his/her application by a majority ofthe members of the Board of Trustees. A non-Jewish
spouse, in the event of the death of the Jewish spouse, may continue to be a full member of the
Congregation and is entitled to vote.
Anyone not meeting the requirements of section one, 18 years age or older may be elected to a non-
voting associate membership upon approval of his/her application by a majority of the Board of
Trustees. Any persons who desire to support the Congregation may be given an associate membership
with an annual contribution and with approval by a majority of the Board of Trustees. The Board of
Trustees may establish special membership classifications with such provisions as it shall deem
A unit of full membership shall be any adult of Jewish faith and the members of his/her household.
Voting privileges and the holding of office or serving on the Board of Trustees shall be reserved to full
members. Chairmanship of the following committees shall be reserved to full members: Social Action/
Program, Finance, and Communications. Membership on the following committees shall be reserved to
full members: Ritual/Pulpit, Religious School/Lifelong Learning, Cemetery, and ARZA.
Full members in good standing shall have the right to vote on all matters coming before meetings of the
Congregation. Good standing shall mean that all financial obligations to the Congregation are current.
One vote per unit offull membership will be allowed.
Members shall be responsible for support of the Congregation through payment of dues, assessments
and other fees as shall be determined by the Board of Trustees. A member who fails to pay any financial
obligation within three months may be suspended and deprived of all privileges upon vote of the Board
of Trustees after he/she has been notified by certified mail with return receipt having been received at
least 30 days prior to the vote on the impending suspension. The board may waive, extend or modify
any financial obligation due from a member. The resignation of any member shall not relieve him/her
from payment of any obligation due at the time of resignation.
Article VI - Officers
The Officers of the Congregation shall consist of a President, Vice President, Past President, Secretary,
and Treasurer. The Secretary and Treasurer serve for three year terms. The Vice President shall serve
as President-Elect and shall become President following the completion of the President's term. The
Vice President and the President shall serve for terms of two years. Past President shall serve until the
current President completes his/her term or until there is a new Past President and is not subject to
term limits. No person shall serve for more than two consecutive terms in the same position other than
the Treasurer, who may be re-elected but shall always serve as a non-voting member ofthe Board of
The duties of the President shall be to preside as chair at all Congregation and Board meetings and to
appoint all committee Chairpersons. The President shall be an ex-officio member of all committees
except the Nominating Committee. He/she shall call the annual meeting and special meetings, sign all
legal documents, and perform such other duties as are incident to the office.
The Vice President shall automatically succeed to the office of the President in case of vacancy and shall
act for the President in case of his/her absence or disability.
The Treasurer shall be the custodian of all funds of the Congregation and shall be the disbursing agent of
the Congregation as authorized by the Board of Trustees. The Treasurer shall present a financial/budget
report at all meetings of the Board of Trustees and of the Congregation. The Treasurer shall present an
annual budget to the Board of Trustees for approval at the meeting two months prior to the scheduled
Annual Congregational meeting. The approved budget shall be presented at the Annual Congregational
Meeting. The Treasurer shall chair or serve on the Finance Committee and on any other committees
directly involving financial matters of the Congregation. The Treasurer shall disperse Congregation
funds involved in the routine operation of the congregation. Any disbursements over $1,000.00 shall
require the signature of the Treasurer and one other member of the Board of Trustees.
The Secretary shall keep accurate and complete minutes of meetings ofthe Congregation and meetings
of the Board ofTrustees; maintain the Policy Manual of Board-approved policies, if any; send out notices
of all meetings; and perform such other duties as are incident to the office according to applicable laws,
if any, or as duly specified by action of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees may delegate some
of these responsibilities to members of the administrative staff of the Congregation, but the Secretary
shall be responsible for the performance of any delegated matters.
All Officers shall be covered by a fidelity bond, the cost of which shall be borne by the Congregation.
Article VII - BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Board of Trustees shall have the general management of the affairs, funds, records, and property of
the Congregation. It may establish policies, guidelines, and direction with respect to matters within its
management and control.
The Board of Trustees shall include the officers of the Congregation and 6 other members who shall be
elected by the Congregation for terms of three years each. In addition, the Presidents of Sisterhood and
Brotherhood, or their representatives; as well as any member of a regional or national (URJ/WRJ/ ARZA)
board shall serve as ex-officio members. All members ofthe Board of Trustees are considered voting
members unless otherwise designated as a non-voting member.
In keeping with Article V, Section 3, service on the Board of Trustees is reserved to full members of the
Congregation in good standing and only one member of a household may be a voting member of the
Board of Trustees at the same time. Members of the Board of Trustees as leaders of the Congregation
are expected to set an example by active participation in the life and activities of the Congregation.
The Board of Trustees shall fill any vacancy on the Board of Trustees with an eligible congregation
member until the next congregation election. At that time, the Congregation will elect candidates to fill
any unexpired terms.
The Board of Trustees shall meet regularly. In addition, the Board of Trustees may meet
at the call of the President or by petition of 30 percent of the voting members of the Board.
Six ofthe voting members ofthe Board of Trustees shall constitute a quorum. Matters will be decided
by a majority of voting members present.
The office or seat of any Officer or voting Trustee who is absent without adequate excuse from three
successive meetings ofthe Board may be declared vacant by the Board.
All board members shall be covered by a fidelity bond, the cost of which shall be borne by the
ARTICLE VIII - RABBI
The Congregation, in its selection of a Rabbi, shall be guided by the rules and regulations ofthe URJ and
the Rabbinical Placement Commission of the URJ.
Rabbinical Candidates shall be selected and evaluated by a special committee appointed by the
President when necessary. The committee shall recommend to the Board of Trustees a Rabbinical
Candidate to be elected. Upon approval by the Board of Trustees this recommendation shall be
presented to the Congregation at a special meeting. Two-thirds majority of units of full membership of
the Congregation voting shall rule in accordance with Article X section six.
No less than eight months prior to the end of each term of the Rabbi's service, the Board shall make a
recommendation as to the Rabbi's re-election. This recommendation shall be submitted to a special
meeting of the Congregation. A majority of units of full membership of the Congregation voting shall
rule in accordance with Article X section six.
The Rabbi shall have the right to attend all meetings of the Officers, the Board of Trustees, and the
Congregation, without voting rights, except when requested to absent himself/herself. The Rabbi shall
be a non-voting member of all committees.
The selection, engagement, retention, and management of all staff members shall be upon
recommendation to the Board of Trustees by the Rabbi. The Rabbi shall perform all duties incumbent
upon and in accord with his/her contract.
ARTICLE IX - COMMITIEES
The President shall appoint the following committees with the number of members of each varying as
need presents. Committees may be chaired by a congregational member at large, but shall consist of at
least one trustee who shall serve as the liaison with the Board. Additional committees can be specified
by the Board.
ARTICLE X - NOMINATIONS, ELECTIONS, AND VOTING
The nominating committee consists of the immediate Past President and four members of the
Congregation appointed by the immediate Past President. No more than one other member of the
nominating committee can be a current Board of Trustees member. If the immediate Past President is
unable to serve, an additional member of the Congregation shall be appointed by the President to be
chairman of the nominating committee. Nominations from the committee shall be presented to the
Board of Trustees for approval at least sixty days prior to the Annual Congregational Meeting.
Additional nominations can be made from the floor at the Annual Congregation Meeting.
At each Annual Congregational Meeting, the Congregation shall elect one-third of the Trustees for a
term ofthree years. Newly elected Trustees shall assume office at the adjournment ofthe Annual
After serving one three-year term, Trustees who are not officers may be eligible for re-election to the
Board of Trustees after a one year absence from the Board.
Elections shall take place at the Congregational Annual Meeting with one vote for every unit of full
membership. When there is only one candidate per office, election can be by acclamation. If there is
more than one candidate per office, voting shall be by secret ballot. The ballots shall be counted by the
President and two congregation members chosen by the President.
Voting on all issues at Annual Congregational Meetings shall be reserved for units offull memberships
who are present. One vote per unit of full membership of the Congregation is allowed. Voting on all
issues will be decided by a simple majority of those present except for issues related to the Rabbi's
employment which will be decided at a special meeting.
Proxy and absentee ballots are allowed at special meetings only, one vote per unit offull membership of
the Congregation is allowed. All votes shall be by secret ballot at special meetings and shall be decided
by simple majority of votes cast except for issues related to the Rabbi's initial term of employment
which shall be decided by a two-thirds majority of votes cast.
ARTICLE XI - ANNUAL AND SPECIAL MEETINGS
The Annual Congregational Meeting shall be held in the months of January or February.
Members ofthe Congregation shall be notified of the date, time, and location of the Annual
Congregational Meeting at least 14 days prior to the meeting. The notice shall include the agenda of the
meeting, the slate of officers, and Board of Trustees members proposed by the nominating committee.
At the Annual Congregational Meeting reports shall be submitted by the President, Rabbi, and
Treasurer. The Treasurer's report shall include an annual budget to be approved by the Congregation by
a simple majority.
Amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws shall be presented in writing and shall be initiated by the
Board of Trustees or by at least 20 percent of units of full membership in the Congregation. Such
amendments may be acted on at any regular or special meeting. Copies of the proposed amendments
shall be delivered to each member at least 14 days prior to the meeting and included in the agenda.
Twenty-five percent of units of full membership in the Congregation shall constitute a quorum.
Special meetings may be called by the President, or at the request of the majority of the Board of
Trustees, or upon written application to the Board of Trustees by 20 percent of units of full membership
of the Congregation. The call shall set forth the purpose of the meeting and a written notice delivered
to members of the Congregation at least 14 days prior to the time of the meeting. Business shall be
restricted to that specified in the call.
ARTICLE XII - CEMETERY
The Congregation may own land and other property for use as a cemetery.
The Board of Trustees and the Cemetery Committee shall promulgate rules and regulations for the
operation of the cemetery, set the charges for burial space, issue permits for burial and arrange for
maintenance and perpetual care.
The capital funds of the cemetery are to be kept by the Treasurer and appropriated in a manner
determined by the Treasurer and the Cemetery Committee.
The right to purchase burial space in the Jewish Rest Cemetery is limited t~ members of the
Congregation in good standing. Persons of the Jewish faith who are not members of the Congregation
may acquire burial space in Beth Jacob Cemetery by special action of the Cemetery Committee.
The purchase of perpetual care at the same time as the purchase of burial space is mandatory
ARTICLE XIII - REAL ESTATE
Before any contract shall be entered into for the purchase, sale, or alienation of real estate by or for the
Congregation, the Board of Trustees shall ascertain all of the relevant material facts and submit them to
the Congregation at an annual or special meeting. Authorization for any purchase, sale or alienation of
real estate shall require a majority of those units of full membership in the Congregation voting in
accordance with Article X section five or six.
ARTICLE XIV - Dissolution or Merger
In the event of the dissolution or merger of the synagogue, no officer, Board of Trustees member,
employee, member of the Congregation, or representative of the synagogue shall be entitled to any
distribution or division of its remaining property, assets, or proceeds. The balance of all money and
other assets or property owned, held, or received by the Congregation from any source, after the
payment of all debts and obligations of the Congregation, shall be used exclusively for exempt purposes
within the intention and purpose of the IRS code as it now exists or may be amended from time to time,
or it shall be distributed to an organization or organizations exempt under said section of their code.
Moreover, any such use or distribution of the money or property of the synagogue shall be in accord
with the synagogue's purpose as set forth above, and, to the extent possible, shall promote similar or
ARITCLE XV - Rules of Order
The rules of procedures at meetings shall be determined by Robert's Rules of Order unless otherwise
stated in this Constitution and Bylaws.