Introducing the Member Community Commitment

For many years Beth Hillel Temple has used a dues program where each member was asked to pay a certain amount – plus more if they were able, or work out a dues payment plan if the amount was too much.

After reviewing our dues system and learning about alternative systems from other congregations, we concluded it was time for Beth Hillel Temple to adopt a more progressive “Member Community Commitment” program. This approach empowers each member to determine the level of support for the congregation which they are best able to provide. Members will no longer be invoiced for a specified dues amount but rather they will be asked to make a personal “Member Community Commitment”.

Why are we making this change?
We think this system better matches Beth Hillel Temple’s values and particularly reinforces our goals to be inclusive and welcoming to all regardless of financial means. The new approach is intended to enhance the sense of engagement of our members by changing the conversation from dues and money to relationships within the congregation. Importantly, we also believe the system will reinforce each member’s understanding of their role in sustaining our Jewish community.

Recent studies of synagogue finances have shown that our current model is dated in the light of shifting demographics and evolving changes in relationships Jews have with their synagogues. Congregations are finding success with a system based on individuals as stakeholders in support of the community as a whole.

We believe our members’ connection with our temple is strong and that each member understands the importance their individual support has in ensuring Beth Hillel Temple has the funds required to sustain high quality programming, a vibrant religious school, maintain our building, and afford our highly experienced full time Rabbi.

How will the new process work?
Early in June, you will be sent a request to make your “Member Community Commitment”. You simply need to complete and return to the temple the pledge form indicating the amount of your annual pledge and payment preferences. The temple will record the pledge and send you payment reminders quarterly if needed.

How do I determine the annual “Member Community Commitment” that is right for me?
First, it’s important to understand what is needed to sustain the temple. To keep the lights on, to run programming, and to pay our Rabbi, teachers and other staff requires an average $2,500 in support from each member household. This amount includes only our operating expenses. It does not allow for any significant repairs or improvements. We realize some members are unable to afford this sustaining amount and thankfully others do step up by paying more.

As we initiate the new approach, we do ask that every member pledge at least what they did this past year plus 3% to cover increasing costs. We hope that you will be inspired to offer at least a little more. However, it is up to you to determine the amount right for you.

It is the responsibility of every member of our Jewish community to ensure the temple is strong by doing their part both financially and participating in the multitude of opportunities the temple has to offer.

I’d like to thank the members of the committee: Eileen Anderson, Steve Kreines, Steve Steres, Bunny Stoops, Alice Thomson, Laura Tonyan, Judy Torrez, Jenny Vercammen and Jeff Zivan.

Thank you,
Victor Vercammen
Beth Hillel Temple