Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Building" For Tomorrow...

...where honor and respect meets responsibility and liability.

This is a real life situation, so please do not tweak the facts when/if providing your opinion in the comments:

-There exists a young congregation with an already large and growing membership.
-The success of the congregation is directly attributable to its Rav, he is the draw.
-There are plans to purchase land and build a shul; total costs will run into the millions of dollars.
-Due to the relative youth of most of the membership there is a built in limit to how much money will be able to be raised. These are young families with limited disposable income.
-Therefore, it is almost assured that a very large loan will need to be obtained in order to get the shul where it wants to go.

These are the facts of the case, and they are undisputed.

Now then, under such circumstances there will need to be individuals willing to guarantee the loan. These individuals will need to provide collateral in case the loan is defaulted on. In most cases these people put up their houses or some other possession.

Being that the Rav is the reason for the success of the shul, and that if he left the shul would quickly fall apart (again I restate that this is an undisputed given) is it fair/allowed for the membership to request that he be one of the people to sign on the loan, and therefore become financially “on the hook”?

The thinking being that, “we are building you this shul and taking on a commitment for you, we would like some type of commitment in return”. The fear being that, absent this quid pro quo, the Rav could get a better offer and depart for a better position, leaving others “holding the bag” on the loan.

So, do you feel that asking him to be one of the guarantors is okay/right/allowed or is it disrespectful and not b’kavodik? So long as he gives his assurance that he is committed to the shul there should be no reason for any further action. He is the Rav and you take him at his word.