Synagogue Invites Gifts from the Heart in Lieu of Membership Fees
- The Goods
- Published on Tuesday, 04 August 2015 11:37
- Joanne Wallenstein
How much would you like to pay to belong to a synagogue? One local temple is permitting new members pay what they wish.
Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanu-El on Ogden Road in Scarsdale is inviting
People who are not already members to enjoy full membership for one year without having to commit to full membership dues. A new member will be asked to give a "gift from the heart" of any amount, as a sign of sincere interest in exploring the membership experience, beginning with attendance at the High Holy Days services in the fall.
The "Welcoming Year" membership will admit new congregants to any and all High Holy Days activities, including morning services on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (September 14th) and Yom Kippur, (September 23rd), as well as Kol Nidre on the evening before that Day of Atonement.
Each Welcoming Year family/individual will have a "Welcoming Partner" – an existing member family or individual, with similar background and interests where possible, to invite the new members to various events and help them to integrate into the Synagogue community. In addition, and depending on interest, other opportunities may include an informal private breakfast or lunch with the Rabbi, the Cantor, the congregation's President or another leadership volunteer of their choice, a special dinner with other Welcoming Year members, and participation in a "Sharing Shabbat" dinner at a member's home.
The Synagogue said its Welcoming Year membership program reflects the congregation's longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, and is open to people who are:
• Unaffiliated with a congregation
• Interested in exploring affiliation with a new congregation
• Former members of Scarsdale Synagogue before 2012
Donna Vitale-Ruskin, the Synagogue's president, discussed the new program, saying: "At the heart of the Welcoming Year initiative is our confidence that, given the opportunity to truly sample the experience of being part of our community, new members will choose to get involved and become vital participants in our Synagogue family for many years to come. It's an investment – both in these prospective new members and in our Synagogue's future – as we continue to chart our course and build our community in ways that address the spiritual, social, educational and community needs of all who wish to be part of our synagogue family."
Rabbi Jeffrey C. Brown commented: "During the three years I have been at Scarsdale Synagogue, I have been impressed with the hands-on approach of our lay leadership. They, the outstanding people on our membership committee and other volunteers are 100% dedicated to making this innovative new membership program a major success." Speaking on behalf of Cantor Chanin Becker, Director of Religious Education Rabbi Ilyse Glickman, Executive Director Roberta Aronovitch, Director of Early Childhood Jody Glassman, Director of Youth Engagement Sarah Metzger and the rest of the synagogue's professional staff, Rabbi Brown added: "We are committed to helping entering members quickly feel at home, and establish and maintain this new connection in a supportive but low-key manner. The program is another tangible proof of what we mean by: 'Hinenu – We are here, creating a covenant community of shared lives and real relationships.'"
The Synagogue said new member applications are now being accepted. For further information, persons interested are invited to call Roberta Aronovitch, Executive Director, at 914-725-5175 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.