Minyan Tikvah is comprised of three overlapping groups: the organizing committee, subcommittees, and the community. Additionally, there is a legally liable board for purposes of incorporation in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

What is the Organizing Committee?

The organizing committee is comprised of 5-8 individuals who are responsible for the logistics, halachic decisions, finances, communication, and general operations of Minyan Tikvah, including deciding what functions are under Minyan Tikvah’s purview. As of 2012, members are on the Organizing Committee for 2-year terms, which can be renewed by re-application twice. New members are asked to commit for a 2 year term if at all possible. The committee meets regularly; most meetings are scheduled on the Minyan Tikvah Google Calendar.

(Former Organizing Committee members who wish to stay involved form an Advisory Board that can be consulted by the Organizing Comittee as they wish. Former Organizing Committee members who wish to return to the committee are asked to sit out an application cycle and wait 18-24 months before reapplying, or wait 9-12 months until the next cycle if they have served two or fewer terms since 2012.)

Current Organizing Committee members

  • Jesse Bacon
  • Aliza Gordon
  • Ben Schuster
  • Sigalit Magen
  • Oren Pollak
  • Emerson Avery

Former Organizing Committee members

  • Tamar Fox (?-2017)
  • Ilana Emmett (2009-2012)
  • Miriam Steinberg-Egeth (2009-2012, ?-2017)
  • Emily Haney-Caron (2012-2013)
  • Josh Rosenberg (2009-2013)
  • Johannah Lebow (2009-2013)
  • Beverly Lerner (2010-2014)
  • David Slusky (2012-2014)

How do people join the Organizing Committee?

Interested members of the community may, at certain times of the year when applications are open, follow this path toward joining the Organizing Committee:

  • Read this document, attend Minyan Tikvah events, and otherwise become familiar with the workings of Minyan Tikvah.
  • Submit an application to the Organizing Committee at info@minyantikvah.org answering the questions detailed at the end of this document
  • 1-2 members of the Organizing Committee will contact the applicant to discuss that person’s interest in joining the committee
  • The Organizing Committee as a whole will privately discuss the application and decide whether to approve the application or not.
  • Once approved, the applicant will attend 2-3 Organizing Committee meetings as a provisional member, after which they will decide whether to continue as an Organizing Committee member or not. (At this stage, the final decision is solely the applicant’s; the committee has already approved the applicant.)

Members of the Organizing Committee whose terms are expiring and who wish to continue for another term should submit to the rest of the committee their answer to the question “How would you like to see Minyan Tikvah grow and change over the next two years?”

How do people leave the Organizing Committee?

  • At the end of a two-year term, a member of the committee may opt not to apply for another term
  • If a member fails to meet their responsibilities, they will be removed by the rest of the committee
  • Of course, a member may resign at any time, if necessary

What are the privileges of Organizing Committee members?

  • Contribute to the scheduling of minyanim and other Minyan Tikvah events
  • Contribute to, and have the sole say in, the scheduling of Organizing Committee meetings
  • Right of first refusal to attend conferences and other events for minyan leaders and organizers
  • Right of first refusal, subject to the approval of the rest of the committee, to take on one’s choice of responsibilities in running Minyan Tikvah
  • Right to have a more final role in the decision-making process than non-committee members (see details below)
  • Full participation in Organizing Committee meetings (those not on the committee may attend meetings that are not closed, but are requested to observe only, except when the meeting business pertains to their subcommittee or volunteer role)
  • That happy feeling you get when accomplishing something big and positively affecting a large number of people!

What are the responsibilities of all Organizing Committee members individually?

Many members of the Minyan Tikvah community feel strong connections to Minyan Tikvah, contribute significant amounts of their time or money toward the community, and in general feel that Minyan Tikvah is a “home” community that they want to put energy into. This is not only fantastic, but is also vital to the functioning of a community like Minyan Tikvah. Members of the Organizing Committee, in addition to those connections, are also asked to have a certain level of responsibility toward the community in the following ways:

  • Attend at least 80% of Organizing Committee meetings, which are held approximately every 3 weeks
  • Attend every Minyan Tikvah minyan, barring extenuating circumstances, as long as the minyan is meeting once a month (this will be more flexible if the minyan meets more often)
  • Contribute dues monthly (or as requested by the bookkeeper); at a rate of $20/month if possible, or less if necessary
  • Respond to frequent email communication amongst the committee
  • Feel a sense of ownership in Minyan Tikvah, which includes, but is not limited to:
    • Being willing to pick up tasks necessary to Minyan Tikvah that no one else is doing (which currently includes set-up and clean-up for minyans and other Tikvah events), or to work actively to find volunteers to pick up those tasks
    • Attending Tikvah minyanim most or all of the time, and for both minyanim and other events that you choose not to attend, making sure that the organizing committee is well represented at them
    • Making decisions based on what one sees as the best interests of the community and fulfillment of Minyan Tikvah’s vision statement rather than self-interest
    • Representing Minyan Tikvah well in interactions with the community and the world at large, including welcoming community members at Minyan Tikvah events

What are other responsibilities of Minyan Tikvah’s Organizing Committee, subcommittees, or other volunteers?

The following is a probably-incomplete list of tasks that the Organizing Committee should make sure are accomplished. They are usually assigned to one or more Organizing Committee members, but as appropriate, they may be accomplished by the committee as a whole. Also, as appropriate and as volunteers are willing, they may be delegated to subcommittees or individual volunteers.

  • Maintain this document, the Minyan Tikvah bylaws, and the vision statement of Minyan Tikvah as necessary
  • Assign and communicate with service leaders
  • Assign and communicate with Torah readers
  • Assign and communicate with divrei Torah givers
  • Assign honors during services
  • Greet people at services
  • Manage GnuCash for financial statements
  • Apply for grants and communicate with donors
  • Collect and deposit donations
  • Communicate with and pay rental facilities
  • Send out weekly emails
  • Send out facebook events and reminders
  • Coordinate meals following services
  • Coordinate with Kiddush coordinators
  • Collect receipts and issue reimbursements
  • Be responsible for Torah (may include key, lending group, insurance, storage, etc.
  • Schedule meetings
  • Respond to emails to info address
  • Maintain website
  • Plan holidays/coordinate with committee to plan holidays (right now, Purim and Simchat Torah)
  • Coordinate with subcommittees
  • Plan and facilitate community meetings
  • Send thank you letters and documentation to donors

Of those things, which tend to get done by subcommittees, and how does that work?

The following subcommittees have functioned at various points in Tikvah’s history:

  • Holiday committee
  • Food/hospitality committee
  • Mission/vision committee

An organizing committee member will correspond with the head of each subcommittee and communicate with subcommittees through email and, when appropriate, face to face meetings. When subcommittees are not in place for a specific need, organizing committee members will take over their function until the committees are operational.

What role does the rest of the community play?

The community, which we define as anyone who attends Minyan Tikvah functions, identifies with Minyan Tikvah, or has a stake in Minyan Tikvah’s future success, in general makes its voice heard on an individual level. Members of the community express their input by talking to members of the Organizing Committee or by emailing the entire committee at info@minyantikvah.org in order to make suggestions, ask questions, volunteer time or money, or otherwise get involved in similar ways. Additionally, the input of the community as a whole is solicited through yearly community meetings and yearly online surveys.

How does Minyan Tikvah make decisions?

Of course, many decisions that are necessary to fulfilling the responsibilities of the functioning of Minyan Tikvah are smaller decisions that the person or subcommitee responsible will simply make, and move on. In the end, it’s a judgement call whether a decision is small enough to be made on this level or not. In general, anything involving scheduling or Tikvah’s policies (such as kashrut or Shabbat observance) should not be decided by an individual or subcommittee.

All other decisions are ultimately the responsibility of the Organizing Committee as a whole, and the vast majority of decisions are raised and then finalized there. Here’s how that works:

  • The primary decision-making process for Minyan Tikvah could be described as “casual consensus” among the members of the Organizing Committee. An idea is discussed, issues raised by those present are discussed, and a decision is reached. This process works for nearly all smaller decisions and logistical decisions, and (after more time and energy) many larger decisions as well. Occasionally, for simpler things, this happens over email. When this process fails, the following other tools may be utilized:
    • A specific refocusing of the discussion toward brainstorming, with an aim of deciding not between two mutually exclusive options, but among multiple out-of-the-box possibilities.
    • A more formal consensus-seeking process, with an individual moderating the discussion and using brainstorming and discussion techniques to help the group toward a conclusion.
    • A system of thumbs up, thumbs down, or neutral: Individuals propose compromises until no one has a “thumbs down.” Extended discussions will proceed until everyone on the organizing committee can accept a decision. Not everyone has to love it, but everyone has to be able to live with it.
    • As a last resort, an up-or-down vote has been used in the past and may be used again.

On occasion, the Organizing Committee may ask the input of the entire community in making big decisions. This may take the form of a discussion at a community meeting, one or more emailed survey questions on a particular topic, a working group consisting of many members of the Organizing Committee and all other interested community members, or informal conversations among active community members known to be interested in a particular issue. In general, though, this process will be followed by the usual mechanism of the Organizing Committee making the final decision.

It is the hope of the Organizing Committee that this does not unduly “disenfranchise” members of the community at large. The Organizing Committee will strive to prevent that eventuality. (For example, it would be extremely unlikely for the Organizing Committee to overturn a clear conclusion of a working group.) However, the intention is that for a member of the community to have the largest possible voice in the direction of Minyan Tikvah, they should first join the Organizing Committee.

Application to join the organizing committee:

1. Why do you want to join the organizing committee?

2. How would you like to see Minyan Tikvah grow and change over the next two years?

3. In a typical week, when are you free to attend Organizing Committee meetings?