Skip to main content

Myron S. Geller Arbitration Files

 Collection
Identifier: P-398

Scope and Content Note

The Myron S. Geller Arbitration Papers consist of records of the arbitration between Rabbi Myron S. Geller and Temple B'nai Abraham in Beverly, Massachusetts. The collection contains correspondence between Geller’s lawyers, the selected arbitrators, the United Synagogue of America Committee on Congregational Standards, and the Rabbinical Assembly. Also included are legal documents, such as exhibits, affidavit, depositions, hearing transcripts, judgments, briefs, and the claims themselves.

Dates

  • undated, 1974-1981

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Biographical Note

The Myron S. Geller Arbitration Papers pertain to the proceedings surrounding the arbitration of a contract dispute between Rabbi Myron S. Geller and Temple B'nai Abraham of Beverly, Massachusetts. Geller was the rabbi at Temple B’nai Abraham from 1970 until 1977, when his contract expired. The congregation of the synagogue had voted to renew his contract the previous year, but the resulting offer from the Negotiating Committee was not in line with standards set by the United Synagogue of America. Geller declined to renew under the terms set forth, and the committee initially rejected attempts at negotiation, so Geller began to seek other employment. Talks continued into early 1977 until a second congregational meeting resulted in a vote not to renew Geller’s contract.

Arbitration was requested by Geller through the United Synagogue of America Committee on Congregational Standards in June 1977. His claim included severance pay, as stipulated in his contract, as well as a settlement for suffering, anguish, and distress due to bad-faith negotiations, wrongful infliction of harm by violating minimum standards, and impairment of professional opportunities.

Over the course of a year, lawyers from both sides debated the need for arbitration, whether arbitration was compulsory or voluntary, and which matters should be included in any arbitration that might take place. The Committee on Congregational Standards found that it could not force the temple to choose an arbitrator, so Geller appealed to the Rabbinical Assembly, which gave its support towards Geller’s efforts to compel arbitration through civil proceedings. Geller filed a Demand for Arbitration in Massachusetts Superior Court in March 1979, and six months of depositions and hearings followed.

The three-member arbitration panel decided in Geller’s favor in December 1979 and awarded him $42,813. Temple B’nai Abraham first petitioned the Superior Court to vacate the award, which was denied, and then appealed the Court’s decision. On January 27, 1981, the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the decision.

References

  1. Materials in the collection.

Chronology

November 26, 1976
The congregation of Temple B'nai Abraham votes to renew Geller's employment.
January 1977
Geller receives the first offer from the Negotiating Committee and declines.
January 16, 1977
Geller receives the committee's second offer.
January 20, 1977
Geller offers a counter-proposal, which is rejected.
January 23, 1977
Geller declines the committee's second offer.
February 1, 1977
The Negotiating Committee is disbanded by the Temple Board.
February 1, 1977
The congregation votes not to renegotiate Geller's contract.
February 8, 1977
A special congregational meeting is called to reconsider negotiating Geller's contract.
February 1977
Geller provisionally accepts the Negotiating Committee's second offer, with three open issues still to negotiate.
February 21, 1977
Geller meets with the temple's president to discuss the contract.
February 23, 1977
The temple's president sends a "Fact Sheet" to the congregation prior to the congregational meeting.
February 28, 1977
The congregational meeting takes place, and the decision not to renegotiate Geller's contract is upheld.
March 3, 1977
Geller's employment is officially terminated, though he remains in his position until the end of the contracted period.
April or May 1977
Geller sends a request for arbitration to the United Synagogue of America Committee on Congregational Standards.
June 6, 1977
The United Synagogue of America Committee on Congregational Standards refuses Geller's request for arbitration.
July 13, 1977
The United Synagogue of America Committee on Congregational Standards reverses its decision of June 6 and asks both parties to choose arbitrators.
July 18, 1977
Geller chooses an arbitrator.
July 31, 1977
Geller's contract period ends.
October 12, 1977
Temple B'nai Abraham refuses arbitration for all but Geller's claim of severance pay.
October 19, 1977
A Restated Demand for Arbitration is submitted by Geller to the United Synagogue of America Committee on Congregational Standards.
February 24, 1978
A First Amended Demand for Arbitration is submitted by Geller to the United Synagogue of America Committee on Congregational Standards.
April 14, 1978
Temple B'nai Abraham again declines arbitration and refuses to name an arbitrator.
May 8, 1978
The United Synagogue of America Committee on Congregational Standards declines to choose an arbitrator on behalf of Temple B'nai Abraham.
May 1978
Geller files an Application for Appointment of Arbitrator in the Massachusetts Superior Court.
January 26, 1979
Geller submits an Application for Appointment of Third Arbitrator in the Massachusetts Superior Court.
February 2, 1979
A third arbitrator is appointed by the Massachusetts Superior Court.
March 1979
Geller files a Second Amended Demand for Arbitration in the Massachusetts Superior Court.
April 9-October 16, 1979
Arbitration hearings are held.
December 9, 1979
The arbitration panel decides in Geller's favor.
December 18, 1979
Temple B'nai Abraham submits an Application to Vacate Award of Arbitrators.
January 11, 1980
The Massachusetts Superior Court denies the Application to Vacate Award of Arbitrators.
May 1980
Temple B'nai Abraham appeals the judgments of the Superior Court in the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
January 27, 1981
The Massachusetts Appeals Court confirms the judgments of the Superior Court.

Extent

2 linear feet (4 manuscript boxes)

Abstract

The Myron S. Geller Arbitration Papers record the arbitration process of a contract dispute between Rabbi Myron S. Geller and Temple B'nai Abraham of Beverly, Massachusetts. The collection contains correspondence between all parties involved in the dispute, as well as legal documents, such as exhibits, affidavit, depositions, hearing transcripts, judgments, briefs, and the claims themselves.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Joseph Greenberger, 1981, 1982.

Processing Information

Processed by Shannon Struble, 2017
Title
Guide to the Myron S. Geller Arbitration Papers, P-398
Author
Processed by Shannon Struble
Date
2017

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245