One of our readers submitted the following question: What exactly does the Vaad Hakohol do..?
After discussions with others, we offer the following response:
The Vaad Hakohol is reponsible for all community concerns. If there is a concern that must be met, the Vaad must deal with it. Example: Ensuring that there are Rabbonim to answer Sha'alos and deal with communal concerns. Paying the Rabbonim and providing them with offices, etc.
Most often the Vaad will hire or appoint volunteers to aid them in performing the duties necessary. An example is the staff of the Jewish Community Council and the Vaad HaKashrus.
Sometimes, if through the efforts of others a communal need is already being met, they do not have to do anything directly. For instance, one of the traditional activities of a Vaad HaKohol is to see to the needs of visitors to the community, such as providing lodging and meals for all the orchim. In Crown Heights this could be a huge endeavor as so many people visit here from all over the world all the time. However, there are other organizations that see to this actitivy, (Eshel), and therefore the Vaad has left it to them.
Another example is that the Vaad has the responsibility to assure security needs are attended to. They have traditionally worked with and supported organizations stated by others, such as Shmira and Shomrim. If organizations such as Bikur Cholim and Hatzoloh did not exist, they would have to see to it that these needs are being cared for also. It is possible to list many other specific activities that fall within their jurisdiction.
In summary, they are the representatives of the community to make the decisions necessary to see that all communal needs are met.