Q: Why is this change occurring/happening?
A: After much research and counsel, Temple B’rith Kodesh’s Board of Trustees is introducing a new commitment policy designed to better fulfill our sacred mission and stimulate membership giving and growth. The new policy moves away from a traditional dues system to a personal pledge system. Now, your pledge amount is up to you, hopefully, backed with a better understanding and awareness that it is both a vital part of operating the Temple of today while also serving as an investment in Temple’s future. The new policy is designed to do two things. First, we hope it will build membership by adopting a policy that is more closely aligned with contemporary Jewish culture and values, and make us more accessible to prospective members. Secondly, it is intended to invite congregants to give more and increase their support. In fact, we hope it will inspire 100% of our members to increase their commitment dollars. Your personal contribution creates change and impacts lives while shaping our financial future.
Q: How will the new policy work?
A: Instead of paying an assigned dues amount, each member household has the responsibility to fairly assess its own commitment level and to give accordingly. Members are now asked to contribute based on what the household determines is consistent with their ability to support, sustain, perpetuate and strengthen Temple B’rith Kodesh.
The sustaining contribution is $2,100, which reflects the estimated average cost per member household to maintain our Temple programs and operations. As a guideline, Temple leadership has created recommended annual contribution levels:
Ner Tamid (Eternal Light) Levels
- $18,000 and above M’lachim (Angels)
- $9,000 to $17,999 Adumim (Pillars)
- $5,400 to $8,999 Shomrim (Guardians)
- $2,700 to $5,399 Manhigim (Leaders)
- $1,962 to $2,699 M’kaymim (Sustainers)
- $18 to $1,961 Kehila Kedosha (Holy Community)
A range has been provided for sustainers in consideration of fluctuations in both costs and membership levels, and in recognition of our building’s opening in 1962.
Q: What is a Ner Tamid (Eternal Light) Level?
A: We encourage members who are able to support the Temple beyond the sustaining level to do so at an amount that is meaningful to them. Our Ner Tamid members provide critical support to the Temple, allowing us to open membership to the entire community regardless of financial ability.
Q: Do I need to contribute at the recommended annual levels?
A: While we recognize that we are a diverse congregation with members who have a wide range of charitable giving capability, we ask every member to make a meaningful gift from the heart. For some that may be the minimum M’kaymim (Sustainers) contribution ($1962), and for others, it is at the M’lachim (Angels) level ($18,000 and above). Those who are unable to contribute at the sustaining level can adjust their commitment level accordingly.
Q: Has this new type of commitment model worked successfully at other Temples?
A: A small but growing number of Reform congregations have moved to a similar commitment model. It has been the focus of much conversation among synagogue leaders throughout the country as they reexamine the old models of fixed dues systems. The trend was featured in this article in The New York Jewish Week It was also a focus of this New York Times article.
Q: Is this a permanent change?
A: Our leadership believes that this new commitment model will strengthen our congregation, but it will take several years for us to realize its full potential. We know we have a congregation that loves our synagogue and wants to perpetuate its future. While no one has a crystal ball about the future, we believe this is a positive, long-standing change for Temple B’rith Kodesh and its membership.
Q: Who do I contact if I have additional questions?
A: If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Executive Director, Michael Yudelson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (585) 244-7060 ext. 222.