DAYTON CHRISTIAN JEWISH DIALOGUE
Minutes of Meeting
August 8, 1999
Location: Alumni Hall, University of Dayton
Meeting Topic: Dialogue Organizational Matters; Proposed Bylaws
Facilitator: Robin Smith
Hosts: Eileen Moorman and Connie Breen
PRESENT: Robin Smith, Cochair; Arthur Auster, Judy Auster, Joanne Beirise, Connie Breen, Phyllis Duckwall, Sophie Kahn, Stephen Kahn, Jack Kelley, John Magee, Eileen Moorman, Bill Rain, Ken Rosenzweig, Harold Rubenstein, Sophie Rubenstein, Dieter Walk, Suzie Walk.
Robin called the meeting to order at about 8:00 PM. Connie delivered a prayer on the subject of mitzvah (a good deed or the fulfillment of a commandment). The prayer was a poem by Julia A. Baker, and included the words, "God keep watch between thee and me." Robin announced that there would be no meeting in September due to the Jewish High Holidays. Suzi announced that the Our Shared Heritage Trip to Israel, originally scheduled for October 14-25, 1999, will be postponed to a later date because of inadequate numbers of people signed up. Those interested in this tour of Israel by Christians and Jews together should telephone Suzi Walk at (937)439-2336.
Harold noted that 25 years ago this day the Dialogue members watched together the historic resignation of Richard Nixon from the Presidency of the United States.
Jack made a few announcements. Dr. Maureen Tilley was cited in the newspaper about the mistakes of the Church with respect to Jews over its 2000 year history. Shirley Flacks sent e- mail messages on the recent arson cases in Sacramento synagogues. Jack noted that the attendees were generally pleased with Rabbi Klatzkin's role in facilitating discussion at the Dialogue retreat in July. Also, Jack drove with Brother Ade Windisch 1,500 miles to view the passion play in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. They expressed complaints about the blood curse text which is still a part of that passion play.
Arthur noted that this is the anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb 54 years ago. 40,000 people died immediately as a result of the blast, and a total of 200000 people died, including those who succumbed to bomb-related illnesses. On a trip to Hiroshima, Arthur and Judy visited Peace Park there. They noted that it was an emotional experience. In Hiroshima, they met a family with a child who was born on the 6th of August. A week ago, that family spent time visiting in Arthur and Judy's home. On a related point, Jack said that a Japanese priest is visiting at his (Marianist) house. The priest's grandmother was killed in the World War II bombing of Japan.
Discussion of Dialogue Bylaws
Robin announced that the next order of business was the development of bylaws for the Dialogue. Robin will give her proposals for elements of the bylaws and then listen to the reactions to her proposals and other suggestions. Based on this input she will develop a draft of proposed Dialogue bylaws which will be considered and hopefully approved at a future meeting. Robin noted that one basic problem the Dialogue has faced is lack of definition of the duties and functions of each Dialogue officer. One specific problem is that when there have been cochairs, the responsibilities expected to be performed by each cochair have often not been equal. Clarification is needed of titles and duties of each officer. There was a discussion of whether the highest officer of the Dialogue should be called president or chairperson. Also there was discussion of whether there should be copresidents or whether there should be a president and a vice-president. Also, there was discussion of confusion about the role and operating procedures of the Officer Nominating Committee. Steve asked whether there was any provision for a quorum to make decisions. Steve also asked whether the Dialogue was an official tax exempt organization and whether contributions to it are tax deductible. Robin replied that she investigated whether the Dialogue should become a tax exempt organization. She found that the procedures were very complicated, and felt it was not warranted to pursue this course for a small organization like the Dialogue.
Harold noted some other problems with the way officers get nominated and elected. Ken raised the problem of proper authorization of expenditures by the Executive Committee (officers meeting as a group). Judy suggested higher membership dues. She also suggested e-mailing of minutes to members rather than using postage on them. Eileen suggested $40 dues per year for a single and as well as for a couple. Arthur made a motion to raise the dues to $40 for a couple and $20 for a single person. The motion was seconded and passed by the Dialogue membership.
Dieter raised the question of standard stipends for speakers. It was noted that in the recent past, most speakers have been paid $25. However, special speakers such as retreat coordinators or more distinguished speakers have been paid more. There was some discussion of the Treasurer's role in making disbursements from the checking account. The attendees generally felt the Treasurer should only make disbursements after a majority vote of the Executive Committee (officers). Some members expressed the view that the Treasurer should have the authority to make small expenditures ($50 and under) without the approval of the Board of Directors. However, the Treasurer would be required to report on these small expenditures at the next meeting of the Executive Committee. There was general agreement of the membership to this exception for small expenditures. The Dialogue members decided to use the term Chair rather than President to reflect the egalitarian nature of the Dialogue. The membership decided that the highest officers of the Dialogue should be a Chair and a Vice-chair. There should no longer be Cochairs. The Vice-chair would assume the duties of the Chair when the Chair is absent. There was also agreement that the terms of office of officers should be changed from two years to one year. The attendees decided that an Officer Nominating Committee should be formed at the February meeting. This committee would be charged with finding and recommending candidates for Dialogue officers which would be considered for election at the May meeting. There will be three members of the Officer Nominating Committee, one of whom should be a former Dialogue officer.
Robin said that she will draw up a draft of the bylaws, based on the previous discussion. After this draft is approved by the Executive Committee, it will be included in a mailing with the Dialogue minutes for review by the Dialogue membership. Subsequently, a vote to approve the bylaws will be scheduled at a Dialogue meeting.
Two Short Presentations by Members
Ken described the Klavir Family Reunion which he attended near the end of July. The Reunion was held at the Grandview Inn in Huntsville, Ontario and had about ninety attendees, coming from countries all over the world, including The Netherlands, Australia, England, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, and the United States. Ken's own connection to the Klavir family is through his father's mother's mother. Ken had not previously met most of the people at the reunion; however, Ken did previously know about 10 people in a clan which came out of the Rosenzweig family which originally settled in Houston, Texas. The family connections were put together by Ken's cousin Meyer Denn who was raised in Texas but now lives in Jerusalem; the planning and organization of the reunion was done primarily by Deborah Donda who lives in Toronto. The Klavir family is a Jewish family which emigrated from Lublin, Poland, mostly at the beginning of the 20th Century.
The Reunion included many memorable events including a talent show, nature walks and boat trips, geneology workshops exploring the family history, piano and saxophone performances by the members of the family, and a wedding. One family member from the Netherlands married a woman from Australia. The couple met each other in a discussion group on the internet. The wedding was a traditional Orthodox Jewish wedding held on the lawn of the resort. A Chabad (Lubavitch) rabbi from Toronto officiated at the wedding. The wedding included such traditional Jewish and Chasidic practices as a chupah (four cornered canopy under which the wedding takes place), men dancing with men and women with women, and the rabbi carrying the groom around on his shoulders. Ken has put a lot of the pictures from the Reunion on his website. If you would like to view these pictures on the internet, set your web browser to this address, "http://homepages.udayton.edu/~rosenzwe/".
Steve shared his experience of going to Frankfurt am Main, Germany this summer as part of a group of 125 Jewish people brought to Frankfurt by its government. The group included people who were Frankfurt residents before World War II and survived the Holocaust as well as their spouses and families. Steve noted that the visitors were treated royally. All their expenses were paid for, and they stayed in a 5-star hotel for two weeks. There was a reception by the Lord Mayor of Frankfurt who happens to be a woman. The question came up during the visit, "why is the City of Frankfurt doing this?" In reply, the Lord Mayor asked the visitors to look at the city. It is very different than it was prior to World War II. People of every race and nationality live peacefully together in the city. It is the chief financial center of Germany, and one of Europe and the world's most important financial centers. When Steve's family emigrated from Frankfurt, the cathedral was the tallest building in the city. Now office buildings tower over the cathedral. The Lord Mayor emphasized that, "we want your friendship." Steve stated that the visit was a satisfying but emotional experience. While in Germany, Steve visited the grave of his grandfather in Mainz and recited the Kaddish (prayer for the dead) there. Also, he was able to confirm that his mother's brother had perished at Matthausen, and his aunt had died in Teresienstadt. Steve had previously visited Frankfurt in 1974; at that time, he wondered about each person who was of an age to have lived through the Hitler years, "how many Jews did you kill?" On the visit this summer, he did not feel the same. The trip was an emotional roller coaster.
During the visit to Frankfurt, Steve attended a reception where he made contact with representatives of the Christian Jewish Dialogue group in Frankfurt, known as the Gesellschaft fuer Christlich-Juedische Zusammenarbeit in Frankfurt am Main e.V. These representatives stated that they were interested in hearing from the Dayton Christian Jewish Dialogue and in establishing a relationship with our group.
The meeting adjourned at about 9:30 PM.