The Religious Affairs Committee (RAC) has the principal responsibility for religious affairs at Beit Am. The RAC has two main responsibilities:
(1) To coordinate, oversee, and ensure the smooth operation of Shabbat minyanim, High Holiday services, and all other religious observances and life-cycle events at Beit Am. This will be done by: (a) serving as the main liaison between the various minyanim (which have primary responsibility for defining and conducting their own services), the religious leader, and the Beit Am Board; (b) overseeing a standing High Holidays sub-committee that is specifically charged with the task of arranging and coordinating those services; and (c) developing an annual calendar of all other religious observances, services, and life-cycle events and ensuring that these events take place by enlisting volunteers, arranging logistics (e.g., erection of the sukkah and preparation of timely publicity announcements), and interacting with other involved committees and/or parties (e.g., coordinating with Hadassah on Passover seders and serving as liaison with the Willamette Valley Jewish Community Burial Society for funerals).
(2) To develop and submit for Board approval recommendations for policies and guidelines on religious observance and customs at Beit Am. This will include but is not limited to: (a) Beit Am’s overall policy on religious observance and customs, e.g., acceptance of patrilineal descent and egalitarian minyanim; (b) the role of the religious leader in the various minyanim and other religious affairs; (c) the process and guidelines for establishing new minyanim; (d) procedures for resolving conflicts that may arise within and between minyanim (e.g., scheduling conflicts) or between the religious leader and the minyanim; (e) other issues that may arise concerning religious affairs and which require policy clarification or development. With regard to (a) and (b) above, and wherever else is appropriate, the RAC will consult with the religious leader in developing policy and guideline recommendations. However, the RAC has primary responsibility for recommending to the Board policies and guidelines on religious affairs.
In addition to these two main tasks, the RAC is also responsible for maintaining Sifrei Torah, siddurim, yizkor boards, and other religious ritual objects kept at Beit Am.
The RAC shall be composed of a Committee Chair, who shall be appointed by the President of the Board; a member of each active minyan (including minyanim that may become active at future times), each of whom shall be appointed by the respective minyan and approved of by the RAC Chair and the President of the Board; one or more member(s)-at-large, who shall be appointed by the RAC Chair and approved of by the President of the Board; the chair of the High Holiday sub-committee; and the religious leader, who is a non-voting member of the committee. It is expected that appointments to the RAC will be long-term appointments, with the following exception: in the case that a minyan ceases to be active, that minyan will no longer be represented on the RAC.
Funds to support the activities of the RAC shall be provided by the Board. The RAC shall not be authorized to make explicit or implicit commitments with financial ramifications without the express consent of the Board. The committee shall meet quarter-annually, and the Chair or Religious Affairs portfolio holder will report quarter-annually to the Beit Am Board on progress in all areas of RAC business.