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Congregational Meeting

Sunday, April 7, 2019 2 Nisan 5779

4:00 PM - 6:00 PMBnai Israel

Bnai Israel Congregation Semi-Annual Meeting

Sunday April 7, 2019-4:00pm

Call to Order-Barry Weiss, President

Invocation-Rabbi Julie Kozlow

Approval of Nov. 2018 Congregation Minutes-Walter Winter made the motion Roberta Eichenholz seconded. Minutes approved.

Rabbi Kozlow presented a summary of recent activities as well as a general update of NEW future events – February 2020 Scholar in Residence-June 2020 Shabbaton-October 2020 another Israel trip. (A full report is attached)

Barry Weiss gave the President’s Report. Thanking the entire Board for their efforts which have been many; an overview of the general state of the congregation pre- and post-flood and hurricane. Stating the challenges have been enormous but have all been met by our team of tireless volunteers.

Design Committee Report was presented by Lyne Glaser. She stated that we have done one survey asking for input from the congregation. The percentage of responders was low but the people who did respond wanted a transitional approach and were concerned with handicap access to the Bema.  Another survey will be presented with more targeted questions.  Lyne displayed the renderings to date and opened the floor to questions. She answered all and reminded the meeting that these were preliminary, and changes will be incorporated as the congregation responds.  Barry stated that the budget for the project was $360,000 plus future insurance monies.

Harold Eichenholz presented his House Report including the progress of repairs and the installation of a security system.  A comprehensive written report was read into the minutes. (See below)

Jerry Smith presented the Treasurer’s Report.  First, he reviewed the balance sheet as of December 31, 2018 and took questions. Then he reviewed the Profit and Loss statement, Budget vs. Actuals; again, he answered any and all questions.  These documents are a part of the minutes.

Diane Gerberg gave the Sisterhood Report.

Barry gave a brief Men’s Club Report, highlighting the events of the past year.  Due to scheduling circumstances the Scouts will NOT be coming to Wilmington this year.  

Michelle Bannon, Sunshine Meals

          Sunshine Meals has been busy in recent weeks distributing meals to six or seven congregants with acute or chronic illness. We are glad to be able to offer this service.

          We had another successful cooking session. Many thanks to those who participated this time or in the past. They are too numerous to name, and I am sure I would leave someone off the list.

          We will be offering monthly visits along with a snack or meal to those congregants who are homebound or who have great difficulty in getting out and about. Please let me or Rabbi Julie know of anyone who would benefit from this. Those making monthly visits will go through a short training session with the rabbi to review boundaries & guidelines. The initial training session will be held on Thursday, April 11 at 2 PM at the synagogue.

            Thank you for everyone who has participated in making Sunshine Meals a success, by cooking, delivering or donating funds so that we can continue this program.

 

Steve Stein gave the Ritual and Cemetery Report

Cemetery Report              April 7, 2019

            All is quiet at the Cemetery, but a lot of work has been done since our last congregational meeting.  The hurricane debris has been removed.  The cinder blocks and dirt had to be separated from the debris before all of it could be relocated.  Doesn’t sound that much but it was a major project. We are now removing the inside storm debris and clearing the construction material from the new Annex site.

            New rules have been approved for the old cemetery.  The rules for the Annex are almost complete.  These rules must be approved by the board.

Our next focus will be

  1. Cleaning the mildew off the stones.
  2. Landscape the walk through the cemetery.
  3. Continuing work on Annex.

The following members are on the Cemetery Committee:

Walter Winter,

Harrison Freedland   Irv Freedland     Reba Alper    Judy Kurzer         Steve Stein

I would like to thank the Chevrah kaddisha and the Ritual Committee for their continuing service. 

If anyone wishes to be a member of these committees, please let us know.  Thank you.

 

Barry Weiss announced that Andrew Zeldin will be the Nominating Committee Chairperson.

Walter motioned to Adjourn. 5:40.

 

HOUSE COMMITTEE REPORT

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Members of the of the House Committee, and other members of the congregation, that have contributed their efforts to help ensure that the structures and grounds on Bnai Israel property are being appropriately maintained – These individuals include Yves Sion, Bruce Maurer – who is the House Committee’s representative on the Sanctuary Design Committee Murray Sherman – who provided assistance on the current roofing replacement project and Sanctuary floor moisture issues that are part of the Hurricane Florence restoration efforts; Slick Katz, Laurie Westreich, and Shia Abisch on matters related to security and safety – with a special welcome to Mitch Ratner who is now a member of the House Committee with involvement in the Safety & Security Committee; and other individual contributors to various work efforts including  Jonathan Alper, Richard Weisman, and Andrew Zeldin.

Since the last House Committee Report in November 2018, the House Committee has continued to respond to our mission of maintaining safe, clean, and modern facilities. Needless to say, we, as a committee and as a community continue to be challenged by conditions that reflect the age of our facilities and significant events that we have experienced since July, 2018. The following activities highlight the work performed by the House Committee since our last report:

Roofing Project and the July 12th Sanctuary Water Intrusion Event

  • With regard to the water intrusion event of July 12, 2018, we were successful in recovering our $25,000 deductible from our $426K settlement from our Wind and Hail Insurer (NCJUA).  This money came from Nautilus Insurance – our roofing contractor’s insurance company.  Total amount of insurance monies received to date is $357K, with an outstanding amount of $69K involving recoverable depreciation related to building and contents losses. (our total approved claim was $426K). I would note that the Sanctuary is completely functional, and we have performed some minor repairs to address deterioration resulting from the water damage.
  •  The status of the current roof replacement project is as follows:  all physical work on the Sanctuary, Main Lobby, Main Entrance Portico, Kitchen, Minyan Room, Lounge, Bathrooms, and Chestnut St. entrance roofs have been completed.  We have a couple of warranty issues outstanding (issues related to obtaining a 25 yr warranty period and certification that the new roof as installed to withstand 130mph winds) with our roofing contractor D&A Roofing & Metal, as well some cosmetic issues needing to be addressed by the contractor. We have been withholding our final payment of approximately $22K from the contractor until all open issues have been addressed to our satisfaction. Approximately $31K has been spent to date on this project.
  • The House Committee also took the opportunity to obtain $3,600 funding from the BOD to replace seven (7) 65-yr old rooftop drains located on the Social Hall and the adjoining roof over the offices/Gift Shop/One Room Shul House. This project was completed on March 28, 2019.

Hurrican Florence

  • During the period of September 13 thru 15, the Bnai Israel grounds and buildings were subject to the winds and wind-driven rain of Hurricane Florence.  On November 1st, the insurance company had brought in a civil engineer to review our water in-leakage experience. The House Committee found the conclusions of the engineering report to represent an unacceptable analysis as to the reasons for our Hurricane related water leakage problems. Based upon efforts by our roofing contractor, and our masonry contractor, we determined that storm water in-leakage into the building areas under the new roofs were not the source of our problems, but in fact the underlying reason for our leakage project is the result of the degraded condition of our external masonry.  We held a meeting at the Synagogue on February 28, 2018 attended by the President and House Committee Chairman, our insurance agent, our mason, the author of the engineering report, and the Adjuster for the insurance company.   We provided our assessment of the causes of hurricane-related damages to our building to the insurance company, along with detailed documentation of actions and costs we have incurred in response to the building and contents that were damaged.  All costs incurred to date fall within our Wind and Hail deductible of $40K, not including the cost associated with the Masonry Repair Program.  The insurance company is reviewing our submitted information, and we continue to work with the insurance company to complete the claim process.
  •  In December 2018, the House Committee made a recommendation to the BOD to initiate a program of repairs to our external masonry/brick walls.  Phase 1 (December 20, 2018 through January 15, 2019) was a demonstration effort to repair roof level masonry walls to prevent the ongoing rain in-leakage on our Bima, and cost $5K. At the January 2019 Board meeting, the House Committee received authorization to initiate Phase 2 of the Masonry Improvement Project which was estimated to cost $65K, and would include repairs to all external masonry walls of the Sanctuary Building, the Main Lobby building, and the Main Entrance Portico.  This work was started on January 16, and completed on March 18, 2019, with the exception of the application of a 15-yr. masonry/concrete sealant to prevent in-leakage through the brick and mortar. At the March 19, 2019 BOD Meeting, the House Committee was authorized to start Phase 3 efforts that would include repairs to all remaining 1953 constructed external building brick/mortar surfaces for an additional $60K expense.  The sealing material will cost just under $3K, and the material has been ordered. The School Building built in 1995 will also be sealed.
  • Efforts have been initiated to repair hurricane damage to our four large magnolia trees, a large pine tree near the Succah, and the remnants of a fallen tree adjacent to the Prayer Garden. The cost of this effort will be $1,050 based upon estimates received. 
  • Another project requiring attention is the replacement of the 1995 vintage School Building roof.  This roof is currently leaking due to hurricane related damage and also because it is beyond its useful life.  At the next BOD Meeting, the House Committee will recommend that this EPDM roof be replaced with a TPO roof for $9K, as well as $500 to replace the damaged rain gutters.

Heatnng, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

  • The House Committee continued to monitor HVAC equipment performance and ensured that periodic preventative and predictive maintenance activities are being accomplished.  Equipment performance evaluation is an on-going activity, with appropriate assessments related to equipment condition, as well as replacement cost estimates being received from HVAC contractors.  We have experienced some equipment issues with our systems; namely, replacement of the Sanctuary System’s thermostat and the Office area roof mounted Gas pack system’s gas regulator. Given all the other major projects being attended too, the remaining HVAC project involves the replacement of the Social Hall HVAC equipment and to de-couple the Social Hall and Sanctuary HVAC systems such that they will be independent in either the heating and cooling modes, has been put on hold.

Security and Safety

  •  As part of the effort to improve our security posture, the BOD has authorized the House Committee to periodically employ security details at Bnai Israel using the services of Deputy Sheriffs from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. This effort is funded in part by the additional $25 fee that was added in the billing for 2019 Member dues.
  • The Safety and Security Committee has been active in investigating the purchase of new security systems for use at Bnai Israel. This purchase will include a surveillance system and an access control system.  Based upon the work done by this Committee, the new surveillance system video data will be accessible, at no charge, to the Wilmington Police Department’s STING (Situational Tactics & Intelligence Nexus Group) Center. This arrangement will provide relevant real-time information to increase situational awareness to the Wilmington Police Department for potential events occurring at Bnai Israel.  Based upon preliminary information provided by the Safety and Security Committee to the BOD, the Board has authorized up to $12K for procurement of the equipment for the new security systems.  A meeting will be held with the favored security contractor on Monday April 8, 2019 to finalize procurement details.  A final presentation will be made to the Executive Team on the details of the systems selected and authority to initiate the system’s installation.  Subsequent to system installation, the Safety and Security Committee will produce a document detailing the access control protocols for issuance of personnel access control devices and backup keys.  All locks will be re-keyed as part of this project.

Future Activities – The following activities will require effort on the part of the House Committee:

  • Remediation of  moisture related corrosion of social hall roof truss bearing pads (painting)
  • B'nai Israel Prayer Garden – repair Hurricane Florence damage to the prayer garden and surrounding fences, and Phase II project – Outside seating, fountain, plantings and paving stones/bricks that would be an on-going catalyst used in support of a fundraising project.                                                                                                                                             -Harold Eichenholz
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Sun, May 26 2019 21 Iyyar 5779