Our Constitution

Constitution and By-Laws of the Vassar Jewish Union

November 1997

Revised: September 1999

Second Revision: October 2001

Third Revision: October 2002

Fourth Revision: September 2003

Fifth Revision: November 2005

Sixth Revision: April 2006

Seventh Revision: January 2009

Eighth Revision: November 2009

Ninth Revision: April 2011

Tenth Revision: February 2012

Eleventh Revision: February 2013


The name of our organization shall be the Vassar Jewish Union: A Hillel Student

Organization (VJU) as authorized and funded by the Vassar Student Association (VSA). It shall

be recognized as such to the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and to the outside community.

Mission Statement:

The Vassar Jewish Union (VJU) seeks to strengthen the development of a pluralistic

Jewish community, and to provide a spiritual and cultural home for Jewish expression at Vassar.

The VJU seeks to serve all members of the Vassar community, regardless of their background or

form of Jewish expression. Consequently, the VJU does not endorse any one view or practice of

Jewish life over any other, and encourages the expression of all facets of Jewish experience in

search of an active and diverse Jewish community on Vassar’s campus.

To accomplish this mission, the VJU will:

• Provide a space for discussion and engagement with issues of Jewish practice, heritage,

community and Jewish experiences throughout the world.

• Serve as a voice of Judaism in the Vassar community, and a space for Jewish practice in

any form.

• Promote political, cultural, and religious dialogue with members of other cultural and

religious communities in order to foster communication and understanding.

• Help enrich the lives of both Jewish and non-Jewish members of the community,

primarily at Vassar.

• Open up space to encourage dialogue within the diverse and pluralistic Jewish student

body and the larger community at Vassar


1. Membership in the VJU is open to all students, regardless of gender, race, color,

disability, religion, national and/or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or academic


2. To be considered a member of the VJU, a student must elect to be on the VJU email list

and receive weekly VJU emails.

3. An official membership list shall be compiled at the beginning of each academic year.

4. All members of the VJU shall be eligible to vote in VJU elections.

Leadership structure:

1. The VJU leadership will be composed of two bodies: an executive board and a

programming board (which together will comprise the full board), and an adviser.

2. The executive board will consist of the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and

outreach coordinator.

3. The programming board will consist of the religious events chair, social events chair,

Shabbat chair, social action chair, education chair, and webmaster.

4. The full board will meet every week to review and brainstorm programs currently being


5. The executive board will meet additionally as needed.

Officers and Their Duties

Executive Board:

1. President

2. Vice-President

3. Treasurer

4. Secretary

a) Runs meetings.

b) Delegates responsibilities.

c) Acts as the official liaison to the VSA.

d) Takes on final responsibility for making sure VJU events and programs happen.

e) Promotes VJU morale.

f) Meets with adviser outside of board meetings as necessary.

a) Oversees programming board.

b) Stands in for President when necessary.

c) Assists President in any/all tasks as necessary.

d) Serves as a liaison for collaboration with other organizations.

a) Draws up and submits to the VSA the annual budget requesting funding.

b) Coordinates all aspects of budgeting, funding, charging, and payment for the

organization. Maintains contact with the VSA Treasurer as necessary to meet

these duties.

c) Initiates and coordinates all fundraising events.

a) Maintains VJU records and history.

b) Keeps minutes of all board meetings.

c) Sends out weekly VJU emails.

5. Outreach coordinator

d) Maintains list of active membership.

e) Completes and submits org reports to the VSA.

a) Must be a freshman.

b) Stands in for the Secretary at meetings when necessary.

c) Runs an outreach event every semester.

Programming board:

1. Shabbat chair

2. Social Events chair

3. Religious Events chair

4. Social Action chair

5. Education chair

6. Social Media Chair

a) Works to find and schedule service leaders, to connect service leaders with the

adviser for any help they may need, and communicates with the adviser about

finding emergency service leaders or leading services if a student cannot be found

to lead services.

b) Brainstorms, plans, and coordinates programs related to Shabbat, including, but

not limited to, Rabbinic Intern programs.

c) Works with the adviser to provide student perspective on and to integrate varying

forms of Shabbat observance and practice.

d) Works with community members who come forward with ideas for such


a) Brainstorms, plans and coordinates at least one major social event each semester.

b) Works with community members who come forward with ideas for such


a) Works with the adviser to plan religious events, including holiday services.

b) Consults with the adviser to provide a student perspective and input on all

religious matters and decisions.

c) Works with community members who come forward with ideas for such


a) Brainstorms, plans, and coordinates programs that are geared toward social justice


b) Works with community members who come forward with ideas for such


a) Brainstorms, plans, and coordinates programs that deal with intellectual issues.

b) Works with community members who come forward with ideas for such


a) Maintains the VJU website.

b) Maintains an online VJU calendar.

c) Maintains the VJU Facebook group and creates events as needed.

d) Manages the Twitter.

Bayit Positions:

1. Bayit Interns

a) Work with the Adviser to develop programming and independent


b) Collaborate with the VJU on programming and events

c) One of the Interns will serve as the VJU’s liaison to the Religious

and Spiritual Life Office, the RSL forum and other RSL groups.

2. Bayit Assistants

a) Will cook Shabbat dinner every Friday

b) Will be a liaison to the VJU in regards to the functioning,

upkeep and protocol of the Bayit

Removal of Officers:

1. Board members may be removed from office:

a. For incompetence, dereliction of duties, and/or behavior deemed detrimental to

the activities of the VJU.

b. For missing more than three board meetings in a semester, without prior

notification and a valid excuse to the executive board.

2. The President shall notify said officer.

3. The board may then, by a 2/3 majority, vote to remove said officer from office.

4. The vacancy shall be filled at the discretion of the executive board.

5. Removal from office shall be used as a last resort, and only if no other means attempted

have been effective in changing delinquent behavior.


1. Elections for all positions except the outreach coordinator are to be held no earlier than

April 1st

emergency situations to be decided by the executive board. Their terms shall run for one

year from the end of the spring semester.

2. On or before October 1st

term will run through the end of the spring semester.

3. Eligibility to run for the office of President requires regular attendance at board meetings

during the previous year.

4. Vacancies during a term shall be filled at the discretion of the executive board.

5. Only VJU members can vote in any VJU election.

6. Voters should be checked against a current membership list at each election.

, and no later than two weeks prior to the VSA budgeting meeting, except in

, elections will be held to select an outreach coordinator, whose

7. Election procedure:

a. A person who has not previously been a member of the VJU can join the email

list—thereby becoming a member—at any time, even on the night of an election

given that they have attended one VJU sponsored event in the past semester.

a. The outgoing president will preside over elections.

b. Separate rounds of balloting will be held for each position, starting with the

president and proceeding down the gavel order.

c. Each candidate for a position will state their name and give a short speech.

d. Voting will be by secret ballot, with voters writing the name of the candidate they

select on a slip of paper.

e. Votes will be counted.

f. The process will then be repeated for each successive position.

8. A candidate who is not elected for a given position may drop down and run again for

another position.

9. The president and vice-president must run for the entire year. For all other positions,

candidates may run as a pair of people who will serve during opposite semesters of the

following year.

10. If only one candidate runs for a position, then a vote of no confidence should be held,

with voters writing “yes” or “no” on their ballots.

11. If nobody runs for a position in April, supplementary elections for that position should

be held in September when fall elections are held. If nobody runs for a position in

September, the executive board will appoint somebody to that position. If the executive

board cannot find a student to take on the position, the responsibilities of that position

will default to the executive board.

General Responsibilities and Function of the Board:

1. Members of the executive board are expected to be committed to and involved in all

aspects of VJU programming.

2. Members of the programming board are expected to be the primary organizers of events

which fall under the responsibilities of their positions.

3. Any VJU member who wants to work with one of the programming chairs either in

general or on a specific event is welcome to do so. The programming chairs will be

responsible for soliciting help on their programs from the community.

4. If a VJU member wants to propose and/or run an event which doesn’t fall under the

purview of any of the programming board chairs, he or she should approach the Vice-
President about it and a special chair position may be created for the purpose by the

executive board.

5. Members of the programming board must coordinate publicity for the events they


6. All board members will share in the responsibility of putting up flyers.

7. All board members will share in the responsibility of tabling for the VJU.

VJU Adviser:

1. Attends all board meetings as a non-voting member of the board

2. Gives advice and support on all matters social, educational, religious, programmatic, etc.

3. Acts as the official liaison to RSL and the college administration.

4. Helps the new board with transitions into their roles.

a) Communicates roles, responsibilities, and advice to new board members.

i. Meets individually with new board members to discuss their roles, as


ii. Maintains records of each board member’s thoughts on how their

position can be better handled in the future and communicates those ideas

to the next student holding that position.

5. The adviser will collaborate with the Religious Events chair in planning religious events

and holiday services and programming.

a) The adviser and the Religious Events chair will involve students in both

conceptual planning and final execution of religious events.

b) The adviser will work with and empower students to plan and do as much as they

are capable of and interested in doing.

c) The adviser will be ultimately responsible for making sure religious events,

holiday services and programs happen if students fail to do so.

d) The adviser will have the power to make recommendations to the board regarding

decisions with respect to holiday/religious services and programming.

6. The adviser will work with the Shabbat chair to support the Shabbat chair in his or her

role of coordinating Shabbat events.

a) The adviser will help the Shabbat chair keep track of holidays and special events

that affect Shabbat services.

b) The adviser will work with individual service leaders to give them whatever help

they need.

c) The adviser will help the Shabbat chair find emergency service leaders as


Political Stance:

1. The VJU, as a non-partisan organization, will not advocate any particular political


2. In the interest of educating and serving the community, however, the VJU will support

individual members’ expressions of their own political views, and will seek to represent

this diversity with its programming.

3. In that regard, we welcome discourse from a variety of viewpoints, and will not exclude

on the basis of political opinion.


1. This constitution may be amended at the discretion of the executive board, and must be

approved by a 2/3-majority vote of the board.

Respectfully submitted,

Naomi Dann, President

Samantha Basch, Vice President

Zeeve Rogozinski, Treasurer

Uriel Walker, Secretary

Ian Snyder, Outreach Coordinator

Zach Sherman, Shabbat Chair

Jason Storch, Social Events Chair

Tori Madway, Religious Events Chair

Sara Abramson, Social Action Chair

Lital Avni-Singer, Education Chair

Jeremy Brick, Social Events Chair

Kira Greenberg, Social Media Chair

Theo Pravitz-Rosen, Bayit Assistant

Henry Rosen, Bayit Assistant

Abby Johnson, Bayit Intern

Elana Fruchtman, Bayit Intern