Oct 23, 2009

United Synagogue revised bylaws

From USCJ: United Synagogue revised bylaws

Dear Chevre:

This December at the United Synagogue convention, delegates will have an historic opportunity to bring about change. If you are a convention delegate, your vote to approve United Synagogue's
revised bylaws will enable our organization to be governed more efficiently and better translate the needs of our constituent members into decisive leadership and better service.

At its September meeting, United Synagogue's board of directors overwhelmingly approved a revision of its 2005 bylaws and recommended that the revised 2009 bylaws be approved by the convention. By that vote, the board demonstrated that it was in favor of creating a new governance model that would insure more responsive decision making

The 17 members of the bylaws revision committee are a diverse group, drawn from all over the continent and representing a broad range of interests. The committee devoted significant time and energy to making United Synagogue better. Please review the new bylaws it created with diligence and care. Your vote to approve the 2009 bylaws will help provide the opportunity for greater lay participation in United Synagogue and insure our long-term viability.

The revised bylaws, on our website here:
http://uscj.org/images/convention_2009_proposed_bylaws.pdf, might seem exceedingly long. That is because we have included both the proposed changes and the current provisions.

Key to the proposed bylaws revision:
  1. All black text remains unchanged.
  2. All blue text is new
  3. All red text is to be deleted
We would like to highlight some of the significant changes for your review:


1. 2.1 Reviews the definition of affiliates

2. 2.2 Reviews the list of associates

Article III – Membership and Qualifications

1. 3.1 Designation of delegates

2. 3.2 Qualification for good standing and participation in United Synagogue governance

Article IV- International Governance

1. The article says that the board of directors shall consist of not less than 40 or more than 75 voting members. The board's makeup is described in sections 4.2.1 through 4.2.9.

2. 4.2.5 describes the standing and special committees whose chairs sit on the board of directors.

3. 4.3 describes the board's function.

4. 4.4 describes a new body, the General Assembly, consisting of approximately 200 voting members. Sections 4.4.1 to 4.4.7 detail the makeup of the General Assembly.

Article V-Describes

The standing committees and commissions are described in article 5.1.

The Council of District Leadership is described in 5.2.

Article VI-Powers and Duties

1. 6.1 details the powers of the convention and the General Assembly.

2. 6.2 describes the board of directors' powers and duties.

3. 6.3 describes officers' duties.

4. 6.4 describes the duties of the General Assembly

Article VII-Meetings

1 7.1 to 7.3 details how often the convention, board of directors, and General Assembly must meet.

2 7.4 describes the notice that must be given for each meeting.

Article VIII-Elections

1. 8.1 describes duties and powers of the nominating committee for the board of directors and the General Assembly.

2. 8.1.2. defines the petition process for the elections

3. 8.1.3 provides direction to the nominating committee on the petition process.

4. 8.2 describes the election process.

Article IX- Quorum

1. 9.1 establishes the necessary quorums for the convention, the board of directors, and the General Assembly.

2. 9.2 describes the adjournment procedure.

Article X-Voting

10.1 through 10.4 deal with the voting regulations of the various governance bodies within the organization.

Article XIV-New Article on Interim Provisions Applicable During the Transformation Process

1. 14.1 describes the establishment of 6 districts in place of the 15 North American regions

2. 14.2 describes the bylaws to be in effect until the transformation process is completed in 2010.

3. 14.3 marks the changes in the various articles that will be in effect during the interim period.

All the members of the bylaws committee believe that the new bylaws are in United Synagogue's best interests and are essential to making United Synagogue responsive to the needs of its members. We believe that after you review them, you will agree. We urge you to join us in becoming invested in the future of United Synagogue by voting yes. Please vote to approve the 2009 revision to United Synagogue's bylaws.

We look forward to seeing you at our convention this December in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Alan Weissman
Chair, Bylaws Committee
Vice President, Planning and Priorities
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Dr. Raymond B. Goldstein
International President
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism