CONSTITUTION OF THE SOUTH HAMPSHIRE REFORM JEWISH COMMUNITY
The Community shall be called the South Hampshire Reform Jewish Community and in the Constitution shall be referred to as ‘The Community’.
The Community’s objects are:
- to advance the Jewish religion by the provision of facilities for education and public worship in general conformity with the practise of the Movement for Reform Judaism
- to provide and maintain a burial ground for the community
- for such general charitable purposes as the Council may in their absolute discretion from time to time determine.
Services shall take place on Sabbaths and Holy Days and on such other occasions as the Honorary Officers may agree. As appropriate, every service shall be conducted partly in Hebrew and partly in English and shall be in general conformity with the practise of the Movement for Reform Judaism.
4. Prayer books
The prayer books used by the Community shall be those used by the Movement for Reform Judaism, subject to modifications as the Senior Warden or his/her deputies may direct.
The Community shall elect at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) a Council member as Senior Warden, and s/he may appoint an Assistant Warden with the agreement of the Council. These Wardens shall form the Services Subcommittee for the following year. Members of the Services Subcommittee may, with the agreement of the Chair, make such regulations as may be needed to ensure the proper and dignified conduct of the services, and shall assign to members or visitors, irrespective of sex, the duties and privileges exercised at the service, provided that no Service Subcommittee member shall be able to act independently of the other members.
Only Jewish people, as defined by the rules of the Beth Din of the Movement for Reform Judaism shall be eligible for membership of the Community. All rights, privileges and duties apply equally to all members.
The classes of membership shall be:
Single membership, meaning an individual over the age of 18
Joint membership, meaning:
a couple living together, whether married or not, with or without dependent children under 18
a couple with dependent children under 18 where only the mother is Jewish
a single parent with children under 18, where the mother of the children is Jewish
The Council shall have the right to create other classes of membership or affiliation and to fix the rights, duties and privileges applicable thereto.
Persons wishing to become members of the Community shall make written application in such form as the Council shall from time to time direct.
All applications for membership shall be referred to the Council for decision as soon as reasonably possible. The decision of the Council shall be final, such decisions being at the absolute discretion of the Council which shall not have to state its reasons.
The Council shall for each year propose a scale of subscriptions for membership. The subscriptions proposed shall be put to the members for ratification at the Annual General Meeting
11. Reduced Subscriptions
The Council has the right to waive, in the case of hardship, all or part of a member’s subscription. Such waivers shall be at the discretion of the Honorary Treasurer, in conjunction with the Chair.
12. Failure to pay
Subscriptions shall be payable on joining the Community, and thereafter annually as soon the subscription is demanded. The Honorary Treasurer is empowered at his/her discretion to accept instalment payments.
If a member, having been accepted for membership, fails to pay the subscription due within 30 days of request, the Council may declare the membership void.
Members joining during a year shall pay a fair proportion of that year’s subscription.
Any extraordinary costs of collecting the subscription shall be payable by the member.
The affairs of the Community shall be managed by the members in General Meeting, a Council and Honorary Officers, in accordance with this Constitution.
Any eligible member may nominate any other eligible member for this office, provided that the written consent of the nominee is received.
This shall consist of five Honorary Officers – Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Senior Warden and Secretary and up to five other members, as required, the total number not exceeding 25% of eligible members.
16. Election of Honorary Officers
The members of the Community shall, at the AGM, elect a Chair from amongst those nominated for the position, to hold office until the conclusion of the following AGM. Having elected the Chair, the members of the AGM shall elect the four other Honorary Officers and any other members as required, to form the Council with the Chair, until the conclusion of the following AGM.
In the execution of the Trusts hereof no Trustee shall be liable for any loss to the property of the Charity arising by reason of any improper investment made in good faith (so long as s/he shall have sought professional advice before making such investment) or for the negligence or fraud of any agent employed by him/her or by any other Trustee hereof in good faith (provided reasonable supervision shall have been exercised) although the employment of such an agent was strictly not necessary or by reason of any mistake or omission made in good faith by any Trustee hereof or by reason of any other matter or thing other than wilful and individual fraud wrongdoing or wrongful omission on the part of the Trustee who is sought to be made liable.
18. Chair of Meetings
The Chair, or if absent the Vice-Chair, shall preside at all meetings of the members, Honorary Officers or Council. If neither is present at any meeting, those attending shall elect a Chair from amongst themselves.
19. Honorary Secretary
The Honorary Secretary shall be responsible for the recording of all meetings of the members and of the Council. S/he shall also perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Constitution or by the Council. In case of absence of the Honorary Secretary, the Council shall nominate a replacement.
20. Honorary Treasurer
The Honorary Treasurer shall keep proper books of account of the affairs of the Council and such books shall be open to inspection by any of the Council. S/he shall report to the Council of the financial state of the Community as required by the Council.
The Council shall consist of the five Honorary Officers as per Clause 15 above, plus up to five other members as deemed necessary. The Council shall be able to invite any additional persons to their meetings at their discretion, who may address the meeting if asked, but shall have no voting rights.
22. Election to Council
The Council shall be elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting, and shall retire at the next AGM. They shall then be eligible for re-election. Any member shall be eligible for election to any office within the Community, provided that s/he is a paid up member, has been a member for at least six months and is not a bankrupt. Nominations for election to the Council are acceptable at any time prior to the voting. Nominators should not be related to the nominee, and should obtain the nominee’s prior consent.
Where the nominees for Chair and the Council do not exceed the number of places available, such nominees will be declared duly elected. Where there are more candidates than places, a secret ballot shall be held and the candidate or candidates with the largest number of votes will be declared elected. Each member present and eligible shall have one vote for each vacancy.
24. Council Duties
It is the duty of the Council, within this Constitution, and any direction by the members in General Meeting, to supervise the management of the affairs of the Community, including recording all members.
The Council may delegate any of its duties to Subcommittees and may appoint from its members and members of the Community such Subcommittees as they decide and such Subcommittees shall hold office (unless previously dissolved) until the first Council meeting after the following AGM. The Chair shall be notified of all meetings to be held by any Subcommittee, and shall be entitled to attend, and to vote ex-officio thereat. The Chair shall keep the Council informed of any reports received from Subcommittees.
26. Council Meetings
The Honorary Secretary shall call a meeting of the Council as soon as reasonably possible after the AGM and thereafter whenever requested to do so by an Honorary Officer or by any three members of the Council, but not more than two calendar months (excluding August) shall elapse between any two meetings. There shall be a quorum when at least one third of the number of the members of the Council for the time being are present at a meeting.
27. Notification of Council Meetings
At least seven days’ notice of all Council meetings shall be given to the Council members, but in an emergency a meeting may be summoned by the Chair or Vice Chair with whatever notice possible. The accidental failure to give notice of a meeting to a Council member shall not invalidate any resolution passed at that meeting.
The Council may continue to act notwithstanding any vacancies occurring, and has the power to co-opt not more than two members, subject to the Council never exceeding ten people.
General Meeting of Members
29. Annual General Meetings
There shall be a meeting of the members of the Community every year by April 30th, such meeting to be called the Annual General Meeting (AGM). A quorum is 10% of members present and entitled to vote.
30. Annual Report and Accounts
At each AGM the Chair shall present a Report for the previous year ended on 5th April and the Honorary Treasurer shall present the Accounts for that year. Such Accounts shall be audited in such a manner as the Council shall direct. All Reports, Accounts, Resolutions and notice of the Meeting shall be sent to the members not less than 21 days before the AGM and they shall be considered at the Meeting.
31. Resolutions at the Annual General Meeting
Any person entitled to the notice of an Annual General Meeting may submit any resolution to that meeting, provided that, at least 28 days before the meeting s/he has notified the Honorary Secretary in writing of the intention to submit the resolution and detailed its contents.
32. Notification of General Meeting
At least 21 days notice in writing shall be given of such meetings to every member of the Community, but the accidental omission to give notice to a member will not validate any resolution passed.
33. Special Meetings
A special meeting can be called whenever the Council thinks fit, or whenever at least ten members issue a demand in writing for such a meeting. This demand must state the purpose of the meeting and set out any proposed resolution. This demand must be notified to the Honorary Secretary, who must then call a meeting, giving at least seven days notice to members. Eight percent of members present and eligible to vote make a quorum. This resolution is the only matter to be discussed in this meeting.
Proceedings at Meetings
So far as practicable, there shall be sent with every notice of a meeting of members or of the Council, a statement setting out then business to be transacted at the meeting.
At all meetings, every person entitled to notice of the meeting shall, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution, be entitled to one vote, and every resolution will be decided by simple majority. Where there is no decisive vote, the Chair shall have a second, casting vote. In exceptional cases, arrangements may be made for postal votes or email votes, provided that every attempt has been made for members to be able to attend a meeting in person. Arrangements will be made at the discretion of the Council and all votes not made in person must be received by the Honorary Secretary prior to the meeting.
36. Marriages, B’nei Mitzvot etc.
The Council may from time to time, in consultation with our Religious Authority make regulations with regards to the conditions to be observed in conjunction with marriages, b’nei mitzvoth and baby blessing.
Every member of the Community shall be entitled to be buried in accordance with Jewish ritual in the burial ground used by the Community. This right extends to dependent children up to 18 years old. The Council may make regulations with regard to the conditions to be observed in connection with graves, burials, cremations, funerals and memorial services. All costs and expenses arising are payable by the member’s executor/administrator, and will be reimbursed in accordance with the rules and conditions of the JJBS.
All cheques must be signed by any two of Chair, Vice Chair, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer, so long as they are not related.
Funds not required for immediate application may be invested in such manner as the Council approve.
40. Alteration of Rules
Alteration to this Constitution shall receive the assent of two-thirds of the members present and voting at an Annual or a Special General Meeting. A resolution for the alteration of the Constitution must be received by the Honorary Secretary at least 21 days before the meeting at which the Constitution is to be brought forward. At least 14 days notice of such a meeting must be given by the Honorary Secretary to the membership and must include notice of the alteration proposed; provided that no alteration to clause 2 (Objects), clause 41 (Dissolution) or this clause shall take effect until the approval in writing of the Charity Commissioners or another authority having charitable jurisdiction shall have been obtained; and no alteration shall be made which would have the effect of causing the Community to cease to be a charity in law.
The Community may be dissolved by Resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at a Special General Meeting convened for the purpose, of which 21 days notice shall have been given to the members. Such Resolution may give instructions for the disposal of any assets held by or in the name of the Community, provided that if any property remains after the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities such property shall not be paid to or distributed among the members of the Community but shall be given or transferred to such other charitable institution or institutions having objects similar to some or all of the objects of the Community as the Council may determine and if and in so far as effect cannot be given to this provision then to some other charitable purpose.
A copy of this Constitution shall be available at all meetings of the Council and members and shall be given to all new members when accepted into membership.