Simcha Policy

Congregation Ohr HaTorah Simcha Policy

  1. Reservations No Earlier Than Two Years in Advance: Reservation of a Shabbos (or other date) for a Bar Mitzvah or other Simcha may be requested by full Members up to two years in advance based on the English calendar date (the “Earliest Reservation Date”) by emailing the Ohr HaTorah Secretary (secretary@ohrhatorah.com). For example, for a Bar Mitzvah scheduled for March 1, 2022, a full Member family can reserve the date beginning on March 1, 2020. All reservations must be made through written email.
  2. Priority of Date/Two-Week Grace Period: Reservations will not be accepted more than two years in advance of the Simcha, and reservations made exactly two years prior to the Simcha will NOT be confirmed until at least two weeks following the reservation request. There will be a two week “grace period” (the “Full Member Grace Period”) from the Earliest Reservation Date for any full Member family to submit a reservation. For example, for a Bar Mitzvah Shabbos of March 1, 2022, any full Member families can submit a reservation for such Shabbos between March 1, 2020 and March 14, 2020.
    1. To the extent multiple reservations for the same date are made at any time during the Full Member Grace Period by any full Member family, all such reservations will be given equal priority and will be resolved per the “Conflict” section below.
    2. If a family does not submit a written email reservation within the Full Member Grace Period for a date that has already been reserved by another Member family, such family will NOT be given equal priority status for that date.
    3. After the Full Member Grace Period expires, all reservations are on a first-come first-served basis.
  3. Confirmation of Reservation: If no other reservations are received prior to the expiration of the Full Member Grace Period, or Associate Member Grace Period as described below, the Simcha reservation will be confirmed by the Secretary. Reservations will be subject to such Member remaining in good standing from the reservation approval date and through the date of the event. Please note: If you do not receive an email confirming your Simcha date within three weeks after submitting the reservation email, you do not have the shul reserved and you should contact the Secretary and the President to determine the status. Confirmation of a reservation request gives full usage and rental rights for all Shul facilities available at the time of the Simcha to the Member family who has reserved the Shabbos. The terms of the rental and use of shul facilities for the Simcha must be arranged through the Secretary and/or Gabbaim, as applicable, separately once the reservation is confirmed.
  4.  Leining: To ensure a leining that is consistent with Congregation Ohr HaTorah standards, any Bar Mitzvah boy who wishes to lein must meet with the Rabbi together with the boy’s father and/or bar mitzvah teacher as soon as reasonably possible following the start of lessons. This initial meeting is expected to generally take place 10 to 12 months ahead of the bar mitzvah, with a follow up meeting taking place two to three months after the initial meeting.
  5. Kibbudim: The Member family that has reserved the Simcha date will have preference with respect to all available kibbudim (including aliyot and selecting shlu’chei tzibbur, within halachic parameters as determined by the Rabbi), but will be subject to any other men that are a halachic chiyuv for an aliyah or to serve as sheliach tzibbur, also as determined by the Rabbi. All kibbudim for a particular Simcha occuring on Shabbos must be coordinated with the Gabbaim no later than two weeks prior to the applicable Shabbos. In cases of conflict between Smachot, Ba’alei Simcha are expected to accommodate each other if at all possible. However, due to limited shul resources, this may not be feasible, and the Member family with the priority/confirmed reservation will have priority (subject to any limitations as noted above and any applicable halachic chiyuvim).
  6. Multiple Simchas: Unless otherwise agreed to by the families involved (and with approval from the Rabbi), only one Bar Mitzvah or other Simcha may take place in a minyan on a given Shabbos morning.
  7. Associate Members: Associate Members may request to reserve a date for a Bar Mitzvah or other Simcha as early as one year in advance of the Simcha based on the English calendar date to the extent the Shabbos requested has not already been reserved/confirmed for a full Member. There will be a one week “grace period” (the “Associate Member Grace Period”) from the Earliest Reservation Date for any Associate Member family to submit a reservation. Following this period, all reservations for Associate Members are on a first-come first-served basis.
  8. Pricing: Congregation Ohr HaTorah Fee Schedule can be found here and is subject to change at any time without prior notice. Final pricing is set at the time of a signed rental agreement and deposit.
  9. Conflicts: Any conflict involving two or more Simcha reservations that are each reserved during the two week Full Member Grace Period or during the one week Associate Member Grace Period, as applicable, will be mediated by the Rabbi and the President, with families in such a situation being encouraged to resolve any conflicts on their own. Should an arrangement be reached to share the shul, the shul requires that the families use the same caterer for both Smachot for the entire weekend.
    1. To the extent a consensual/mediated resolution cannot be reached, the following policy will apply to determine priority with respect to Bar Mitzvah Shabbos conflicts:
      1. If two or more shul families request the same Bar Mitzvah Shabbos during the Full Member Grace Period or the Associate Member Grace Period, as applicable, priority is given to the Bar Mitzvah boy whose 13th birthday on the Hebrew calendar falls in the same week ending on that Shabbos.
      2. if two or more Bar Mitzvah boys, or none of them, have their 13th birthday in the week ending on that Shabbos, priority is given to the older boy.
      3. If both boys were born on the same day, the ultimate decision will be made by the President in consultation with the Rabbi.
    2. With respect to conflicts involving Smachot other than a Bar Mitzvah, or as between a Bar Mitzvah reservation and a reservation for another Simcha other than a Bar Mitzvah, to the extent a consensual/mediated resolution cannot be reached, the decision will be made by the President in consultation with the Rabbi.
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