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Board Elections

OZ Members are invited to attend our semi-annual Congregational Meeting, scheduled to be held on Sunday, December 7th, from 9:30 to 11:30 am at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue. In addition to a review of recent activities and plans for the future, including a rabbinic search update, we will be electing board members. We are also there to answer any questions you may have.

Board Elections
There are two board members standing for re-election: Liz Kleinberg and Jeff Potash, and there are two new people we are voting on—Miriam Sturgis, who is nominated to take the seat vacated by Mindy Evnin, and Abby Rosenthal, who is nominated to be the youth board member (replacing Miriasha Borsykowsky). In addition, Judy Hershberg is up for re-election as trustee (Harvey Klein was re-elected last year).

We are therefore pleased to present this slate of candidates for your consideration. After careful consideration by both the nominating committee and the full Board of Directors, we feel that these congregants are the most qualified, and bring the strongest set of skills and experience to the board.

Proposed new member:
Miriam Sturgis

For re-election to a second three-year term:
Liz Kleinberg
Jeff Potash

Youth board member:
Abby Rosenthal (Youth Position). Note that Abby joined the board when the vacancy occurred, in September. We are now asking the congregation to vote to confirm Abby’s position.

Judy Hershberg

Bios of each candidate are posted below. In addition, hard copies will be available in the synagogue office and at the meeting.  Any member of the congregation may nominate a candidate by writing (c/o OZ) to Basha Brody, Secretary, or from the floor at the time of the meeting.

I want to give thanks to our Nominating Committee – Michael Schaal, Chair; Judy Hershberg and Arthur Kunin, who worked hard to help ensure that we had a thorough and fair process. I also want to give special thanks to both Miriasha Borsykowsky and Mindy Evnin for their outstanding board service.

Please note that in order to vote you must be a member in good standing of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue. Therefore, please ensure that you have made your 2014-2015 membership support pledge prior to December 7th and if you have a past-due balance that you have set up a payment plan for any outstanding commitments by speaking to our Executive Director, Peter Pelaia. And remember, with the recent changes made to our bylaws, both Jewish and non-Jewish members of synagogue households in good standing may now vote on the election of Board members.

Prior to the meeting, Sunday morning Minyan will be held at 9:00 am. There will be a bagel brunch available after the meeting. Hebrew School will be meeting that morning as well at the same time as the congregational meeting, parents are strongly encouraged to attend.

If you have any questions in advance of the meeting, please feel free to contact Peter Pelaia (802-864-0218, ext. 25) or myself (802-524-5507).

I look forward to seeing you on December 7th at 9:30 a.m.


Vivien Rabin Brown
Ohavi Zedek Synagogue


Candidate Statements

Liz Kleinberg

When my family moved to Vermont in 2007, the OZ congregation gave us a warm welcome. My husband, Mike Kanarick, was the Executive Director at that time, and our kids quickly became comfortable at OZ. In fact, our younger daughter was so eager to join her brother and sister at Hebrew School that we enrolled her a year early. OZ quickly became a meaningful part of our family.

Serving on the Board the past 3 years has been a rewarding experience. I’ve learned a great deal about OZ’s history and present circumstances, which enriches my own OZ experience. The congregation’s diversity adds so much to what OZ has to offer. Addressing diverse needs is a challenge, but the results make OZ even more of a community where all are welcome. I’ve seen the congregation grapple with difficult issues, such as our consideration of membership of non-Jewish partners. Discussing this matter, congregants were passionate, thoughtful, and respectful of each other even as their views differed. I was very proud to be a member of this congregation.

During my time on the Board I’ve served as Vice President and been on the Executive Committee, the Fern Hill Transition Committee, the Volunteer Appreciation Committee, and the Adult Education Committee. I’ve gotten to know new people with each position and have gained insight into different aspects of OZ.

My experiences as a Board member, congregant, and parent of Hebrew school kids, coupled with my skills as an attorney, make me a valuable member of the Board. We have exciting challenges ahead, including our search for a new rabbi, and I’m excited to be part of OZ’s continued growth. I’ve enjoyed serving on the OZ Board, and it would be my pleasure to do so for another term.


Jeff Potash

When Rosie Pels’ dad, Isadore Kropsky, insisted on paying for my 1953 bris at Ohavi Zedek, he explained to my parents, Milt and Ellie Potash, that there would come a future time when they would have the resources with which to reciprocate. In many ways, it is Izzie’s menschlichkeit and my parents’ deep respect and love for so many in this community that underlies my commitment to contribute to and serve our congregation.

I’ve been privileged now for over thirty years to serve as an archivist with Aaron Goldberg, in preserving memories of OZ’s past and, currently, in working to bring the Lost Shul Mural to OZ. As Chair of the Interfaith/Social Action Committee for several years following Michael Schaal’s pioneering leadership, I have had the opportunity to work with a number of dedicated committee members and with Rabbi Joshua to highlight opportunities, both within our congregation and beyond, to find ways to act as “Lovers of Justice.”

In seeking to remain on OZ’s Board, I hope to work with others on the Board and throughout the congregation, to foster cultural values of tzedakah (righteousness) and G’Mutlich Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness) that have always and will always be the sustaining life’s blood of our community. And I look forward, as always, to learning from and supporting my colleagues on the board in finding current and effective ways to reach out, to engage, to be inclusive, and to build a long and lasting OZ community.


Miriam Sturgis

We moved to Vermont on a Friday in June of 1985. After a day of unpacking boxes Gary and I looked at each other and said “Let’s go to synagogue.” OZ has been our spiritual home ever since.

Over the course of the last 30 years I have been actively involved as both member and staff at OZ. I have served on the Hebrew School committee and taught Hebrew School classes, participated on the Camp Scholarship committee, enjoyed Israeli dancing regularly for nearly 20 years, organized and participated in multiple Jewish book groups and bible study groups, attended services where I periodically read Torah and Haftorah, and attended adult ed classes.  I have been involved with negotiations between OZ and United Synagogue.  I was on the Tikvah 2020 committee.

I am deeply committed to Israel and have been involved with multiple Israel related activities including the Burlington/Bethlehem/Arad Sister City group, the Kids4Peace board and I have brought several Israel related events and speakers to OZ.

I raised 3 children in this warm, supportive community and enjoyed watching their Jewish identities emerge through the programs and activities at OZ. Seventeen years ago, there was no active youth group at OZ, so I introduced Young Judaea—a program that I ran as a member of the OZ staff until this past spring. Leading Young Judaea was an incredible and fulfilling experience for me, and I knew when I stepped down from that position I would need to find another fulfilling role to continue to express and grow my passion and commitment to this community. I hoped that I would have the opportunity to do this as a member of the Board.

As a board member I would continue to advocate for excellent opportunities for OZ’s youth. Also of critical importance in the coming years will be choosing a new head rabbi for our very diverse congregation, and making the transition to this rabbi as smooth as possible.  This can be accomplished by communicating openly and respecting the feelings and needs of all members of our community.  Through my involvement with very diverse activities, I have developed a good relationship with many people from many facets of OZ life.  I believe that representing their interests is also something valuable that I can bring to the Board as we enter this time of transition.

Judaism has been the center of my life since I was a young child, and OZ has been the center of my Judaism for the last 30 years.  It is my intention that this synagogue will be a main focus of my time once I retire.I love our synagogue, and as a board member I would work hard to keep it fiscally strong, vibrant with exciting and appealing events and activities, and above all, continue to make OZ a warm and caring community like the one that welcomed Gary and me on our very first day here in Vermont.