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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 39

Laws of the Dunedin Jewish Congregation

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Laws of the Dunedin Jewish Congregation.

Printed at the Evening Star Office Dunedin Bond Street.

MDCCCLXXVI page break
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Officers for the year 5636.

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Laws for the Management of the Dunedin Jewish Congregation.


That this Congregation be entitled "The Dunedin


Jewish Congregation

Hebrew text


The Synagogue shall be opened on all proper

Synagogue when opened Forms of prayers

occasions, and the form of prayers shall be the same as read by the Jews of England under the jurisdiction of the Rev. N. M. Adler, Chief Rabbi.


A person having paid six months' seat rent shall

Members, Low constituted

be constituted a member, provided always that he has held a seat for that period, and subscribed to these bye-laws.


Clause 1.—No member under the age of 18 years

Qualification for voting and holding office

shall be allowed to vote, and shall not hold office under the age of 21 years.
Clause 2.—All persons who have been members

Qualification for voting or holding office

six months shall be allowed to vote, and those who have been members twelve months to hold office. N.B.—Subject to Clause 1, and law of arrears.


Members leaving Dunedin, and not in arrears,

Membership may be retained by absentees

may retain their membership upon payment of one guinea per annum.
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Persons withdrawing, how reinstated to membership

Any member who shall have withdrawn in arrears, and should wish to rejoin, shall, upon paying all arrears due up to the time of his withdrawal, and thirteen weeks seat rent in advance, be restored to his seat of membership.


Persons with-drawing in arrears how reinstated to membership

Any person who has previously been a member of this Congregation for twelve months, and paid his account up to the time of his withdrawal, shall, should he request, be reinstated to his rights of membership upon payment of thirteen weeks' seat-rent in advance.


Country members

Persons who have been seat-holders not less than twelve months, residing over ten miles from Dunedin, wishing to continue members of this Congregation, can do so by payment of arrears and one guinea per annum in advance : such persons to have all the privileges of regular members, with the exception of seat in Synagogue.


Disqualification of membership

Any Jew marrying contrary to the Judaical rites, shall be disqualified from becoming or remaining a member of this Congregation.



The management of the affairs of the Congregation shall be vested in a President, Treasurer, Secretary, Retiring President, and a Committee of eight members, four of whom shall retire annually in the inverse order of their election.


Officers, when elected, and when duties commence

The President, Treasurer, and four Committeemen shall be elected annually at a general meeting to be held on a Sunday during the month of Ellul, and their duties shall commence on the eve of "Shobas Berishes."


Persons nominated tor office in their absence

Any member nominated for office in his absence shall be informed of it by the Secretary in writing, and unless he signify by letter within three days his intention to stand his elction, his name shall not be placed on the ballot paper.
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All elections, excepting Auditors, shall be by

Elections, how conducted.



Voting by proxy shall not be allowed.



Father and son or two brothers shall not be

Non-eligibility of father and son, or two brothers

allowed to be on the Committee of Management at the same time; and should they be nominated for office, they may go to the ballot, and the one having the greater number of votes (if elected) shall sit at the Board.


Any member owing more than the amount of two


quarters' seat-rent shall be considered in arrears, and shall neither be entitled to vote or hold office.


No member shall be eligible to fill the office of

Qualifications for President and Treasurer

President or Treasurer until he shall have been a member of the Committee for twelve months; he must be a married man, or have attained the age of thirty years.


On the first day of the Festival of Tabernacle,

Announcing officers

immediately after reading the "Torah," the reader shall announce the names, in Hebrew and English, of the Officers elected for the ensuing year.


Retiring officers are eligible for re-election.

Officers eligible for re-election


In the event of the demise, resignation, or disqualification

Vacancies how filled

of the President, Treasurer, or Committee-man, a general meeting shall be convened within fourteen days to fill up the vacancy so occurring, providing such does not take place within two months of the general election.


The President shall be entitled to preside at all


meetings, and in his absence the Treasurer, or, in the event of both being absent, a Chairman shall be chosen from the Committee.
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President or Treasurer may call meetings

The President, or, in his absence, the Treasurer, may convene by circular any meeting whenever he shall deem it requisite.


Meetings by requisition

The President shall convene a Committee meeting upon requisition signed by not less than four members of Committee, and a general meeting upon receipt of requisition signed by not less than ten members of the Congregation; such requisition shall state the purpose for which the meeting is required, and no other subject shall be discussed but that for which the meeting is called; meeting so requested must be convened within seven days of the receipt of such requisition.


President to have casting vote

The President shall have a easting vote, in addition to his deliberative one, when the numbers are equal.


Presiding Sigon

The President, or, in his absence, the Treasurer, shall preside as Sigon, and have the distribution of "Mitzvas;" in the absence of the above-named officers, the ex-President, or, in his absence, the Senior Committeeman present, shall preside.


President's power of expending money

The President shall have power to expend for Synagogue purposes, once in three months, any sum not exceeding Five Pounds.


President's power of relief to poor

The President shall have the power of giving relief to any poor Jew (but not more than once in three months to the same individual), to the amount of L1 1s.


Treasurer to pay salaraies and accounts

The Treasurer shall pay all recognised salaries and such accounts as may be passed by the Committe, under abstract signed by the President, or, in his absence, by the Chairman for the time being, or by order of the President according to law.


Treasurer to keep accounts

The Treasurer shall keep correct accounts of the receipts and expenditure of the Congregation.
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The Treasurer shall, at the Committee meeting

Treasurer to produce audited balance sheet at nomination meeting

previous to the annual election meeting, produce a balance-sheet showing the receipts and expenditure for the past year, certified as to its correctness by the auditors, which said balance-sheet shall be read at the annual election meeting, to be held in the month of Ellul, and laid on the table for inspection and adoption.


The Treasurer, at the Committee meeting prior

Treasurer in re-tiring to pro-duce supplementary balance sheet and books to be audited

to his retiring from office, shall produce a supplementary balance-sheet, which, with books, &c., shall be audited.


The Treasurer, upon retiring, shall hand over to

Treasurer in retiring to deliver up property, &c.

his successor all books, bonds, monies, and accounts of the Congregation appertaining to his office.


The Treasurer shall open an account with one of

Banking and withdrawing money

the Dunedin Banks, to be named by the Committee, in the name of the Dunedin Jewish Congregation; and all monies received by him shall be deposited to the credit of that account. No portion of the money so deposited shall be withdrawn unless by the joint signature of the President and Treasurer for the time being; or, in the absence of the President, the signature of the Secretary, in conjunction with the Treasurer.


The Treasurer shall allot and let the seats in the

Treasurer to allot and let seats

Synagogue according to the rates fixed.


The Treasurer, by direction of the Committee,

Treasurer may prosecute or defend any action

shall have power to commence, prosecute, or defend any action in any Court of Law.


The Committee shall meet the first Sunday in

Committee when to meet

every month for passing the accounts and the despatch of general business.


At meetings of Committee five shall form a

Quorum in Committee

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Officers or Committee-men absenting

Any officer or member of the Committee who shall be absent from three consecutive summoned meetings without a satisfactory reason or apology shall be considered as having vacated his office, and such vacancy shall be filled up as provided by law.


Committee empowered to amend laws, &c

The Committee shall be empowered to make, amend, alter, or rescind any law or bye-law of the Congregation; but no law or laws so made, amended, altered, or rescinded shall be binding until approved by a general or special general meeting called for that purpose.


Committee to regulate salaries

The Committee shall from time to time regulate the salaries of paid officers; recommend the same to the general body for confirmation.


Committee (may appoint additional readers

The Committee may (when required) appoint additional readers to perform divine service.


Committee when to meet to call to Torah

A meeting of the Committee shall be convened within fourteen days, prior to the New Year and Day of Atonement, for the purpose of forming a list of members to be called to the Torah, to whom the Secretary shall give notice in writing.


Auditors duties, and how appointed

Two Auditors shall be appointed at the annual nomination meeting, who shall examine the Treasurer's balance-sheet, and all accounts relating thereto, and if found correct shall attach their signatures to the same; They shall also audit the Secretary's and Collector's book; and they shall, within one week after such accounts and documents have been handed to them, make a report of their examination to the Committee.


Scrutineers' duties, and how appointed

At any election meeting three persons shall be appointed (by show of hands) to act as scrutineers, whose duty it shall be to preside at the ballot-box, and immediately after the close of the poll shall proceed to ascertain the number of votes polled for each candidate, and make a return of the same to the President.
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Between the New Year and the Tabernacle

Chosan Torah and Chosan Berishes

Festival, the Committee shall appoint from among the members two persons to act as Chosen Torah and Chosan Berishes, who shall thereupon be apprised in writing of their appointment; and the Secretary shall, at the same time, require an answer within three days; or should either or both parties refuse to act, the President and Treasurer shall officiate.


The names of the persons appointed to act as

Chosan Torah and Chosan Berishes' announced honors and duties

Chosen Torah and Chosen Berishes, shall be announced in the Synagogue on the first day of the Tabernacle Festival, and they shall at the period of their officiation, be seated next the President, where they must attend to be called to the Torah, on "Simchas Torah," and Shobas Berishes.


The Minister shall on all occasions perform divine

Minister to officiate. Substitute, how appointed

service; in his absence the Senior Officer present may appoint a proper person to officiate in his stead.


The Minister shall not officiate at any marriage

Minister not to officiate at marriages without authority

ceremony without a written authority from the President.


The Minister shall, when performing any service,

Minister when to wear robes

wear his official robes, except at Private Minyonim.


The Minister shall attend all funerals, and visit

Minister to attend funerals and Shivo

the house of a mourner during "Shivo."


No offerings shall be made in the Synagogue to


any salaried officer of this Crongregation.


The Secretary's duties shall be to regularly keep

Secretary's duties

all books and accounts in connection with Synagogue, attend all meetings, and take minutes of the proceedings, issue summonses and circulars for convening meetings, or for any Congregational purpose, and carry on the correspondence according to directions he may receive from the President or Committee.
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Secretary to keep book of marriage contracts

The Secretary shall keep a book wherein shall he entered a duplicate of all marriage contracts, which shall be signed by the same parties as the original marriage contract.


Secretary to keep a registry of births, deaths and marriages

The Secretary shall keep a regular and correct registry of births, marriages, and burials, in Hebrew and English.


Secretary to act as Registrar

The Secretary shall attend all marriage ceremonies as Registrar.


Secretary to prepare accounts and balance sheet

The Secretary shall prepare the accounts due to the Congregation, and have them ready for delivery quarterly; he shall also prepare for examination by the Auditors an annual balance-sheet of the income and expenditure.


Secretary to keep roll of members

The Secretary shall keep a roll, in which shall be registered the names of all members of the Congregation.


Secretary when to allow inspection of books, &c.

The Secretary shall not permit any book or document to be inspected, except by a member of Committee, without a written order from the President.


Secretary to perform other duties.

The Secretary shall perform any other duty consistent with his office not herein set forth, as shall be required by either the President or Treasurer.


Secretary to conform to rules President may suspend Secretary, and must lay cause before Committee

The Secretary shall strictly conform to all the regulations in these laws; and in case of refusal or neglect of his duties, or for any improper conduct, the President shall have power to suspend him from office pending investigation; and the President shall, within three days, lay the reason of such suspension before the Committee, who shall take the same into immediate consideration.


General meetings, Quorum

At general meetings, thirteen members shall form a quorum.
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On the Sunday prior to the annual election, a

Nomination meeting, when called

meeting of members shall be convened for general business, and for the nomination of honorary and salaried officers.


At general meetings no member shall be allowed

Rule of debate

to speak twice on any subject unless in explanation or reply.


No person shall be elected to any paid office unless

Paid officers to be recommended by Committee

recommended by the Committee.


Should any vacancy occur in any paid office, a

Committee to determine if vacancy of paid officers shall be filled up

meeting of the Committee shall be convened within fourteen days, when it shall be determined whether such vacancy shall be filled up.


Seats in the Synagogue shall be arranged,

Rates of seats

classed, and rated in the following order :—
  • Class A.—£7 16s per annum
  • Class B.—£6 10S per annum.
  • Class C. (front.)—£5 4s per annum.
  • Class C. (back.)—£3 18s per annum.
  • Class D.—£2 12s per annum.

Ladies' Seats.

  • Class 1.—1 guinea per annum.
  • Class 2.—10s 6d per annum.


Sons of members under the age of eighteen years

Minors' seats

may be seat-holders in Class C. on payment of 10s 6d per annum.


Application for seats shall be made to the Treasurer

Seats to be applied for to Treasurer

in writing, and, when allotted, cannot be transferred or changed without his consent.


Seat rents shall become payable quarterly in

Seat rent when payable

advance, viz., in the months "Nissen," "Tamuz," "Tishri," and "Shevat." Seats taken at any other period than the commencement of the quarter shall be charged at the rate of a quarter.
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Absentees may retain seats

Members leaving the Colony desirous of retaining their seats, shall be permitted to do so upon the payment of one year's rent (annually) in advance.


Treasurer may re-let seats

Any member whose account is in arrears for twelve months or more, will be required, on or before the annual election, to pay 50 per cent, of the gross amount of his account, and failing to do so, the Treasurer may re-let his seat after seven days' notice has been given of his intention to do so.

LXXII. Births.

Naming children

Female children shall be named in the Synagogue by the officiating minister, according to the prescribed Judaical rite.


Father to attend Synagogue

Notice in writing shall be given to the Secretary of the intention to name a child two clear days previous to the day appointed, when the father shall attend to be called to the Torah.


Registration of children

For the purpose of registration it shall be incumbent on the father of every child to supply the uecretary with the intended name, date of birth, name of parents, &c., in Hebrew and English (in writing).

LXXV. Marriages.

Marriage notice to be given

Persons about to marry in this Congregation, must give notice in writing to the Secretary fifteen days previous to the day of marriage for the President's and Committee's permission; when, after payment of fees, charges, and arrears (if any), the ceremony shrll be performed.


Marriages, when performed

Marriages shall be solemnized in the Synagogue, unless application be made to have the ceremony performed at a private residence, which shall be approved of by the President, and a fee of two guineas charged for the permission.


Bides groom and bridesmen to attend Synagogue

Bridegrooms and their Bridesmen residing in the City of Dunedin shall attend Synagogue on the Sabbath before marriage, to be called to the Torah.
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Members for twelvemonths and upwards shall be

Marriage fee for members of 12 mouths

charged three guineas for marriage fee, and ten shillings and sixpence for certificate (Kezubah)?


Members and strangers desirous of being married

Committee to determine marriage fees

in this Congregation, shall be charged such a sum as the Committee may determine, and parties desirous of being married beyond the limits of the City of Dunedin shall pay such additional sum for expenses as the Committee may decide.

LXXX. Death.

Upon the demise of any Member of this Congregation

Notice of death to be given to Secretary

or any of his relatives, notice thereof shall immediately be given to the Secretary, who shall apprise the President of the Burial Ground of the same.


The President shall not permit any funeral to

Arrears to be paid or arranged tor before burial

take place until all arrears due to the Synagogue Funds, together with funeral expenses, be discharged, unless in case of the failure of effects of the deceased, and the incapacity of his relatives to pay the whole of the arrears, or the sum for the payment of the ground, when it shall be in the power of the President and Committee to make such arrangements as they may deem fit, and, if necessary, to authorise the funeral expenses to be paid from the Synagogue Funds.


The Committe shall appoint anuually a Superintendent

Superintendent of burial ground, how appointed, and duties

of the Burial Ground, whose duties shall be to take charge of the Cemetery, and see that it is kept in proper order, make arrangements for all funerals, keep a registry of them, and see that they are properly conducted,


The Superintendent of the Burial Ground shall

Expenditure for Cemetery purposes

have power, in conjunction with the President, to expend, for Cemetery purposes, any sum not exceeding L5 in three months.


Graves shall not be dug, nor gravestones erected,

Graves and tombstones

without a written order from the President; nor shall any inscription be permitted unless previously page 16 approved by the President and Minister. Any person digging, or causing a grave to be dug, or interring a body without the written authority of the President, or in opposition to his commands, shall be prosecuted according to law.


Ground reserved for a grave

Any person requiring a portion of the Burial Ground to be reserved for a grave, shall be charged such sum as the Committee may determine, but not less than £10 (ten pounds) for a grave measuring 8ft. by 5ft., and that such ground shall not be used contrary to Judaic laws and the bye-laws of this Congregation.


Committee to determine charge for ground

Members, their wives, or unmarried children under 15 years of age, shall, at their decease, be buried without charge for the ground; but non-members, their wives, or unmarried children, shall, at their decease, be subject to such charge for the ground and fees as the President and Committee may determine.


Fee to erect a tombstone

The following charge shall be made for permission to erect tombstones :—Members, free; Non-members, L1 1s.

LXXXVIII. Registration.

Registration fees

The following shall be the schedule of fees for registration :—
  • For Births, nil; copy, 2s. 6d.
  • For Marriage, 10s 6d.
  • For Death, members, nil; copy, 2s 6d.
  • For Death, Non-members, nil; copy, 5s.

LXXXIX. Precedence for Calling to the Torah.

Order of precedence

The following shall be the order of precedence for calling to the Torah :—
  • First—Bar Mitzvah or Confirmed.
  • Second—Bridegroom.
  • Third—Father naming a Child, or his Wife attending after a Confinement.
  • Fourth—Persons having a sitting at a Beris.
  • Fifth—Father having a Beris.
  • Sixth—Anniversary of a parents death.
  • Seventh—Father having a son confirmed.
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Every member shall, previous to exercising his

Members to sign copy of these laws

privilege, sign the official copy of the rules and regulations, signifying his willingness to be governed by the same.


Persons presenting gifts of property to the

Names of donors to be recorded

Synagogue shall have their names in Hebrew and English recorded in the book kept for that purpose, together with the particulars of the property presented.


Letters respecting the affairs of the Synagogue

Letter book to be kept

shall be entered in a book kept for that purpose.


Proclamations shall not be made in the Synagogue

Proclamations in Synagogue

without the signature of either the President or Treasurer, excepting religious proclamations requiring immediate publication, which may be proclaimed in the absence of the President and Treasurer, by permission of the senior officer present.


Notices for any purpose, whether written or

No placard to be affixed without sanction

printed, shall not be affixed to any place belonging to the Synagogue without the sanction of the President or Treasurer.


Any person charged with offending any officer

Offences against officers

in his official capacity, shall be summoned to appear at a meeting of the Committee, to answer the charge, and make satisfaction for the same, in such a manner as shall be determined by the Committee.


Every Member shall be furnished with a copy of


the laws.


Any person not a member of this Congregation,

Non-members requiring ceremonies performed;

and requiring the performance of any religious rite or ceremony, shall be charged such a sum as the President and Committee shall determine.


No protest shall be valid unless it is made in


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Gases unprovided for

Should any person be dissatisfied with the decision of the Committee, he may appeal to the general body, provided he gives notice in writing to that effect to the President within twenty-four hours after such decision is made known to him.


Appeal to general body

Should any case occur which has not been provided for by any law of the Congregation, the Committee shall decide,

CI. Interpretation of President.

Wherever the word President occurs in these bye-laws, it shall mean the presiding officer for the time being.