Young Israel Amends Constitution To Remove "Shul Stealing" Clause
The National Council of Young Israel has amended its constitution to allow member synagogues to resign from NCYI without penalty. Previously, synagogues had no legal way to resign, and dissolution (or expulsion from NCYI) resulted in NCYI gaining title to their buildings and assets. In other words, if a synagogue decided to close and disband or was expelled, the National Council of Young Israel took its buildings, property and assets.
200 Orthodox synagogues worldwide belong to the National Council of Young Israel and carry the Young Israel brand name. Most are located in the United States. 50 are located in Israel and less than 10 in Canada. (The Israeli synagogues, while affiliated with NCYI, are not under its control.)
I'm told the following amendment to NCYI's constitution passed by a margin of 67-1-1 on January 29. The original section 12.4 of NCYI's constitution was originally meant to stop Orthodox synagogues from joining the Conservative Movement, but it was allegedly misused by NCYI over the ensuing years:
The NCYI Constitution is hereby amended to delete the current version of Section 12.4 of the NCYI Constitution, which states that “[i]n the event that a branch is dissolved or expelled, all its assets, both personal and real, shall become the property of the Organization.” Section 12.4 shall be amended to read: “Removed by Amendment Adopted Under Section 11.1 of the Constitution” and shall include the date on which this Amendment was effective.
The NCYI Constitution is further amended to add a new section, Section 12.8, as follows:
Sec. 12.8. (a) Subject to the provisions of Sections 12.8(b) and 12.8(c), below, a branch may resign from membership in the Organization so long as the branch: (1) resigns from membership in the Organization in accordance with the constitution, bylaws, and governing provisions of the branch electing to resign; (2) provides written notice of its resignation to the Organization which sets forth how the branch’s decision to resign from the Organization complies with the constitution, bylaws, and governing provisions of the branch electing to resign; (3) together with its written notice, pays any dues and other monies owed to the Organization as of the date of the notice; (4) together with its written notice, agrees in writing to immediately cease using the name “Young Israel” in connection with its synagogue, in all formats and for all purposes, and provides signed documentation, in the form required by the law applicable to the branch and ready to be filed, that the branch is changing its name to a name that does not include, incorporate, or refer to “Young Israel.”
(b) If a branch is: (1) no longer able to have services on every Sabbath; or (2) is in the process of seeking to dissolve, close, merge, or liquidate or dispose of its assets, that branch may not resign from membership in the Organization unless the branch complies with all of the requirements set forth in Section 12.8(a), above, presents to the Organization a written plan for disposition or liquidation of the assets of the branch, both personal and real, and that plan is consented to by a two-thirds vote of the members of the Board of Directors of the Organization present and voting at a meeting thereof, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.
(c) Any assets of a branch, whether personal or real, shall become the Property of the Organization if: (1) any such assets would otherwise be forfeited to a state or government entity as a result of the dissolution, closure, merger, or liquidation of the branch; or (2) the branch seeks to dissolve, close, merge, or liquidate or dispose of its assets and that branch either consists of fewer than 40 member families or is no longer able to have services on every Sabbath, unless the branch presents to the Organization a written plan for dissolution, closing, or disposition or liquidation of the assets of the branch, both personal and real, and that plan is consented to by a two-thirds vote of the members of the Board of Directors of the Organization present and voting at a meeting thereof, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.
(d) Branches whose constitution or bylaws includes a provision that is similar or identical to the previous version of Section 12.4 need not abide by that provision to the extent that it is inconsistent with Section 12.8 and may amend their constitution or bylaws to make that provision consistent with Section 12.8.