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November 27th, 2014


Dear Members of Congregation Shir Libeynu,

Our eighth Annual General Meeting (AGM) is being held on Sunday, December 7, 2014. We will begin promptly at 11:00 a.m. and will end by 12:30 p.m., thus leaving the rest of the day for other pursuits. The AGM is taking place in Room 318 at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (750 Spadina Avenue at Bloor and Spadina). 


All members of Shir Libeynu are entitled to vote at the AGM. If you cannot attend the AGM, you may send in your proxy, by Friday, December 5th by clicking here.Your proxy authorizes someone else to vote on your behalf and can be signed over to a member or non-member of your choice or it can be signed over to the chair of the AGM. We encourage you to send in your proxy if you can't attend in order to ensure that we make quorum (5% of our membership).


Because children are considered fully responsible Jews at the time of their bar or bat mitzvahs, if membership was purchased for children 13 years of age or older and/or who have had a bar or bat mitzvah, they are entitled to attend and vote at our AGM. If the membership status of a young person in your family is not clear, please e-mail us at [email protected] or leave a message at 416-465-5488.



We are delighted that Amy Herskowitz and Michelle Gewurtz have decided to stand for election to our board of directors. We are also delighted to announce that Laurie Goodman and Brian Smith will be standing for election for a second three-year term.


In addition, the following members will continue to serve on the board:


James Flagal (President)

Jessica Miller (Vice-President/Secretary)

Zev Frishman (Treasurer)

Eden Nameri (Past President)

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If you would like to read a brief bio for each of those listed above - please click here.


If the above-noted elections of two new members and the two members seeking term renewals are confirmed at the AGM, the board will maintain the nine-member composition it had this past year. Shir Libeynu's by-laws permit the board to operate with anywhere from seven to eleven members. If you are a current member of Shir Libeynu and 18 years of age or older, you are eligible to run for a position on the board. If you would like to do so, please send an email to [email protected] or leave a message at 416-465-5488. The deadline is Tuesday, December 2nd at 5:00 pm. Please read about the responsibilities of board members.



Both Harriet Eisenkraft  and Justine Apple will be stepping down this year, as their terms as Board members come to an end.


It is hard in a few brief sentences to pay tribute to all that Harriet has done for Shir Libeynu. She was on the original unofficial advisory committee that formed in 2000 and has been on the current board since our first AGM in December 2007. Harriet served as Vice President until 2012, when she became President, and continued as Immediate Past President when Jamie Flagal assumed that title in early 2014. Throughout that time, Harriet has hosted the vast majority of our meetings. Harriet has been instrumental in helping transform Shir Libeynu from a once-a-year-High-Holy-Day congregation into to a full-fledged downtown shul with monthly Shabbat services, holiday celebrations, vibrant Jewish programming and a bnei mitzvah program. Harriet was instrumental in establishing a firm partnership with the MNJCC, the permanent home for our Shabbat services, as well as excellent relations with First Unitarian Congregation, our High Holy Day location. Harriet offers private help and support to those in need and also makes members' milestones into occasions in which our whole community is involved. The most recent example is our newly minted rabbi's ordination, which Harriet organized in a way that reflected Aviva's wishes and our Congregation's pride and joy. Harriet has been a driving force in making Shir Libeynu what it is today. In addition to her ongoing role as Shabbat coordinator, and her volunteer work on communications, Harret will always be one of the Zikney Yisrael (wise ones) of our community to whom we will always go for guidance.


Justine Apple has finished her three-year term on the board. The energy and enthusiasm that she brought to the board were infectious. Justine helped strengthen our Congregation's ties to the broader Jewish community and beyond. Her work during World Pride was a perfect case in point. Justine's flair for hospitality led to a fabulous Chanukah party at the MNJCC and many wonderful kiddushes. Though she made it look easy, there was plenty of schlepping, planning, setting up and coordinating required, and Justine never hesitated in providing this crucial support. Throughout her term on the board, Justine sang in the choir, provided musical support at our contemplative services, performed chazzanut, and took many wonderful photographs. We look forward to Justine continuing to enrich our Congregation through her many talents.


We thank both Harriet and Justine for their years of service on Shir Libeynu's Board of Directors.



Confirming By-Law Amendments Adopted by the Board:


During the year, the board adopted two amendments to the Congregation's by-laws. The purpose of the by-law amendments was to support the Congregation's application under section 20 of Ontario's Marriage Act to be recognized by the Province as a "religious body". Since our Congregation is unaffiliated, the Congregation first must be recognized as a "religious body" before the Congregation can request that its duly appointed "religious official" be registered to solemnize marriages under that Act.


The application to be recognized as a "religious body" requires our Congregation's by-laws to contain certain provisions - specifically, provisions governing the appointment of a "religious official" and identifying which member of the Board will serve as the "governing official". A "governing official" satisfies certain administrative requirements, such as ensuring the Congregation's marriage register is properly maintained and ensuring that information filed with the Province is kept up to date.


The Congregation's by-laws require that amendments adopted by the board be confirmed by a two-thirds vote at the next AGM. Below is the text of the two amendments that were adopted by board. During the AGM, a vote will be held on whether to confirm these amendments.


The by-laws were amended by adding the following section: 



4.17.1  Rabbinic Leader


This section is concerned with the appointment and removal of the Rabbinic Leader of the Congregation.


a. The Rabbinic Leader of the Congregation shall be responsible for all matters relating to the religious and spiritual practices of the Congregation, and for the content of services, and for any additional matters to which the Board and Rabbinic Leader agree.


b. The Board shall, by resolution, appoint an individual as the Rabbinic Leader for the Congregation.


c. The term of the appointment shall be the set by the term of the contract which the Congregation enters into with the Rabbinic Leader.


d. The appointment and renewal of appointment of the Rabbinic Leader shall be by a majority vote of the Board.


e. The Board may, by resolution, remove the Rabbinic Leader before the end of his or her term if the Rabbinic Leader:

      • has not carried out the responsibilities of a Rabbinic Leader;
      • has acted in a manner that is contrary to the best interests, objects or policies of the Congregation; or
      • has failed to adhere to the policies and principles of the Congregation

f. Prior to tabling a motion to remove a Rabbinic Leader, the Board must include in the notice of the meeting the Board's intention to consider the resolution at the meeting. The Notice must also include a brief description of the reasons for the proposed resolution.


g. Notice of the meeting must be sent to all Directors and to the Rabbinic Leader.


h. The Rabbinic Leader must be provided with an opportunity to be heard before the Board votes on the resolution.


i. The removal of the Rabbinic Leader shall be by a two thirds majority vote of the Board.


Section 5.5 of the By-Laws is amended by adding the bolded portion:


5.5 Duties of the President


Unless another person is authorized by the meeting, the President, when present, chairs all meetings of the members of the Congregation and of the Board of Directors.


The President, with the Secretary or other Officer appointed by the Board to do so, will sign all by-laws and any membership certificates.


The President shall serve as the "governing official" for the purposes of Ontario's Marriage Act. If the President advises the Board that he or she is unable to act as the "governing official", the Board may by resolution select another Director to serve as the "governing official" until such time as the President is able to resume his or her duties as "governing official". 




1.        Welcome by Aviva Goldberg

2.        Report by Daniela Gesundheit

3.        Minutes of Last Year's AGM 

4.        President's Report

5.        Treasurer's Report

6.        Introduction of Candidate(s)/Affirmation or Election

7.        Consideration of Amendments to By-Law To Support Applications Under Ontario's Marriage Act To Enable Congregation Shir Libeynu To Solemnize Marriages

7.        Other business

8.         Adjournment of AGM  

Thank you for your support of Congregation Shir Libeynu. We hope to see you on December 7th.

Board of Directors

Congregation Shir Libeynu