Representatives of Crown Heights Shuls met with communal leaders to begin preparations for the election of new members of Vaad Hakohol for the first time in 14 years, and following that, the election of a third rov.
On Tuesday night, 28 Teves, was the initial meeting of representatives of Crown Heights Shuls to begin preparations for the election of a new Board of Directors for Crown Heights Jewish Community Council and Vaad Hakohol Deshchunas Crown Heights. The most recent election took place in 2010 and the officials elected at that time have served until now, close to 14 years.
Chairman Zaki Tamir opened the meeting and spoke of his role in moving the community forward and that the time has come to pass the mantle to a new generation of leaders. Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba, in his remarks, emphasized the importance of ensuring that every conversation in our homes be respectful and full of Torah content. Rabbi Yosef Braun spoke of the power of a community in that it takes a multitude of individual opinions and turns them into a new entity of the opinion of the community.
Rabbi Eli Cohen, CHJCC Executive Director, then presented some of the history of prior elections and the potential for the strengthening of the community by electing a strong Vaad. He emphasized the importance of the neighborhood of Crown Heights to the Rebbe and the attention that the Rebbe gave to the democratic election of community leadership. He spoke of the tremendous need in the community for affordable housing, security, and support for education that can be accomplished by a renewed spirit of cooperation and unity in community. The election of the new Vaad will be a first step towards also filling the third position on the Beis Din that has been empty since the passing of Rabbi Schwei Z”L
Rabbi Michoel Chazan, former Board member and Rabbi of Kingsbrook Medical Center described how the recent development of more community shuls and class minyanim does not take the place of the need for a strong and unified community. The pieces are stronger when they can be brought together.
An agenda was proposed to advance towards an election to be held on the Sunday after Shavuos – June 16, 2024. Three committees were formed to move the agenda forward, and many of the representatives present volunteered for the committees.
The outreach committee will be working to expand on the work started by Yudi Gruenberg, a relatively new resident of Crown Heights, and organizer of the newly revamped Mishpat Shalom initiative, who has already secured the participation of 50 of the approximately 80 shuls in Crown Heights. The majority of those shuls had a representative at the meeting, and it is hoped that by the time of the next meeting, on February 11, 2024, 2 Adar I, there should be at least 75% participation, including many more of the new young shuls and class minyanim of Crown Heights. Any Shul that would like to participate should contact Yudi at the Mishpat Shalom number, 718 604-8000 ext 6.
Also under formation are the Election Committee that will organize the actual election process, sending out notices, identifying candidates and conducting the polls on Election Day. A Bylaws Committee was also formed to look at adjustments and updates that need to be made to the community bylaws to account for new circumstances, like the extension of the community boundaries and new not for profit laws in New York State.
The entire meeting was conducted in a spirit of unity and cooperation and the hope was expressed that this peaceful and forward-looking approach will continue throughout the entire process until the election and beyond.
The following Shuls have indicated that they wish to participate and named a representative so far:
99 Class Shull (534)
Agudas basement 96
Ahavas Achim- Empire Shtiebel
Ahavas Moische – Maple Street Shul / Itchke’s
Aliya- Bais Laime
Bais Menachem Mendel
Beis Gimpel Chaim
Beis Levi Yitschok
Cong Adas Yisroel
Bnei Solomon Zalman-Frankel
Bris Sholom- the Best Shul
Chevra Ahavas Yisroel
Cong Yaakov Yehuda
Mishkan Menachem- JCM
Reb Michoels Minyan
The Besht Center
The Crown Heights Shul
The Lincoln Place Shul
The Shul -Beis Moshe