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Dear Mr. Chairman , Mr. President and Nessah Board of Directors:
As a member of Nessah Synagogue, I protest the planned increase of membership dues to $2600 dollars. Any change in membership dues should not affect my right to vote as a member who regularly attends the services on weekly or daily basis and cares for the future of this Synagogue and our community.
It is unprecedented to see members of the board of directors of a synagogue who are elected by its members, to vote and disqualify 95% of its members from voting unless they pay $2600 dollars. Your action is contradictory to the basics of how a congregation is built and it is contradictory to the visions of many founders of Nessah.
Mr. Chairman and Mr. President Please veto the vote taken by the board to change my membership terms. Sincerely Yours:
The Board of Directors of Nessah runs the synagogue on your behalf. You, as a stakeholder in this organization, are entitled to be updated on issues that will affect you and your future generations in our community.
The Nessah Membership Committee and Board of Directors has recently VOTED on an increase membership prices to $2600 per couple or even a single person over age of 18. You must pay this price if you want to be a member, entitled to VOTE, elect the Board of Directors or be elected to Board of Directors. Non-member tickets for High Holiday Services will be sold for $150 to $360 with the possible increase for following years.
Stripping you of your voting rights is the first step by certain Board embers to install a permanent Board of Directors that has no accountability to anyone. This new Board will have the full right to decide 1) who is a board member ; 2)who is welcome at Nessah; 3)who can be a member; 4)how the building will be used; 5)who will be the Rabbi ; and 6)if we can continue to practice our Jewish Sephardic tradition.
The bottom line is that majority of the Board of Directors would like to change Nessah Bylaws. To accomplish this, they need two-thirds vote of Board members as well as vote of more than 50% of membership. To get around their problem, they want the membership to be exclusive to themselves and a few like-minded friends or relatives.
Losing your vote right is not related to the level of observance of us as a congregation, but about the role of the synagogue as a place for Our Jewish Community Spiritual needs, or as a Private Club for a few members, feeling special and privileged and networking with each other and dictating all the terms to others coming to Nessah.
Question: Is this legal?
Answer: It appears that the vote taken at the membership committee as well as at the board of directors is defective and not valid because notice was not properly given, and because Nessah Board of Directors are in breach of the fiduciary duty they owe to all members of Nessah.
We would expect a higher standard of conduct from our board members by first respecting their signature on the document they signed called “Nessah Bylaws” and by not self-dealing. Section 2.3 of Bylaws of Nessah States that “Board of Director May Establish various classes of membership but such classes shall not in any way affect the right of a member to VOTE.”