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I'm used to an Orthodox Union-type synagogue that has a board, a president, and a rabbi as an employee.

How does it work with a Lubavitch shul?

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It depends. Do you refer only to Chabad Houses? –  HodofHod Jan 26 '12 at 17:48
    
I just stumbled on this question again; Shalom, is the answer satisfactory? Because if not, I or ShmuelBrill can attempt to give a better one. –  HodofHod Mar 13 '12 at 21:07
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Chabad Houses

As I understand the Shul is generally owned by the Shliach (he sets up a (or uses an existing) non-profit for the legal aspects, but it's almost completely in his hands). This is done for several reasons:

  1. AFAIK, most shuls generally exists by virtue of the community. Baalei Battim who live in a certain neighborhood make a shul, then they look for a Rabbi who fits their needs. Chabad rabbis look for the community. They make their own shul and then look for Baalei Battim. Therefore, the governance is more in line with a Shtiebel than a classical Shul.
  2. A Chabad shliach's purpose is to deal with people that are much less religious than him. If he let them vote or make boards, the Balei Battim may just turn around and turn it into a ... (A normal shul also has this problem, but they have no choice. The Rabbi was brought down by them. A Chabad Shliach is technically capable of being independent from the Baalei Battim).

Chabad Shuls

There are no hard and fast rules. 770 has elections for Gabbaoyim (and Crown Heights in general has elections for Rabbonim). Some Shuls (in Crown Heights) have boards. In some, the old Rov bequeathed the position to a new one.

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+1 Great answer! Obviously, there are also many Chabad Rabbis who are employed in OU-type shuls. I would also add that many shluchim don't have boards simply because their operation isn't large enough. Larger well-established Chabad Houses, that have a shul, a mikvah, a school, etc.. often do have boards. –  HodofHod Jan 26 '12 at 18:25
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@HodofHod in the early years, that was how Shlichus worked. For example, Zalman Posner was a Rabbi in a fairly modern orthodox shul. Nowadays, I don't know how common is it for people who are Rabbis in such shuls to be "official" Shluchim. –  Shmuel Brin Jan 26 '12 at 18:30
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@HodofHod even small OU-style shulls (btw, I think that there are black hat shuls with boards, etc.) have boards. Someone has to be the legal owner (who owns the land, who pays salary, who determines dues, etc.) –  Shmuel Brin Jan 26 '12 at 18:33
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@Shalom Central Chabad gives very very little funding (if any). –  Shmuel Brin Jan 26 '12 at 20:21
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@ShmuelBrill Mostly, I'm just bothered by the concept of the "big pot of gold in 770" that goes out to all the shluchim, when the reality is that individual shluchim have to work so hard to raise enough money just to support themselves. (Full disclosure: I am not a shliach nor the son of a shliach, although I am friends with many.) –  HodofHod Jan 29 '12 at 6:32
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