Shul Membership Drives
- This topic has 40 replies, 20 voices, and was last updated 4 years, 1 month ago by Rebbitzen Goldenpickanicerscreenname.
February 12, 2019 8:45 am at 8:45 am #1677963
What does membership get me if i don’t have a seat saved for me?February 12, 2019 11:25 am at 11:25 am #1678183Sam KleinParticipant
Lower prices in the shuls Simcha Hall downstairs if they have one. Versus the prices of using the halls if you are not a memberFebruary 12, 2019 11:30 am at 11:30 am #1678185MenoParticipant
It gets you a shul that can pay its bills.February 12, 2019 1:03 pm at 1:03 pm #1678225
In many cases paid membership can get you:
1. Reduced price or free burial plots
2. High Holy Day Tickets (not necessarily reserved seats)
3. Reduced cost for simcha hall and kitchen
4. Sick visits by the shul Rav when you or other family member is in the hospital
5. Help arranging shiva minyan including loan of siddurim and folding chairs
6. Higher ranking in list for aliyos or davening for the amud.
7. In some shuls the Rav can not charge for officiating at a member’s wedding or funeral. The member may be expected to offer an honorarium, but it is not required.
8. Bar Mitzvah lessonsFebruary 12, 2019 1:39 pm at 1:39 pm #1678246iacisrmmaParticipant
CTL: maybe in very large shuls or a Young israel,but not in your average shteibel where all it does is generally reserve your a seat and that’s about it. I am surprised that the OP is not being offered a seat for the year with membership. In all the local shuls in my flatbush neighborhood shul membership is bet $300 – $600/year which guarantees your seat for shabbos and yom tov with an extra fee for the yomim noraim.February 12, 2019 1:47 pm at 1:47 pm #1678266funnyboneParticipant
In my shul buying a seat is membership.February 12, 2019 2:25 pm at 2:25 pm #1678283
In the smaller shuls, generally limited to a “seat” with varying supplemental benefits (ex-officio member of the Kiddush club) but mainly some degree of freedom from having the dead silence when you get an aliyah in the middle of the me shebarach when the gabbai gets to the “ba’avur she’nadar……”. Many yidden were simply tired of being constantly she’nadarded every time they went to the amud. A modest annual dues payment offsets but doesn’t eliminate the need for discretionary donations during the year to pay the rav, the utility bills.February 12, 2019 2:25 pm at 2:25 pm #1678284
Meno +1February 12, 2019 2:27 pm at 2:27 pm #1678288
On the practical side, CTL’s #6, specifically for aveilus and/or yahrtzeit, in many shuls.February 12, 2019 2:41 pm at 2:41 pm #1678296
Things are different OOT.
Large building fund pledge pledges and expensive dues are the norm. Shteiblach really don’t exist in any real numbers outside of big cities. Shuls tend to own their own cemeteries and burial is mostly restricted to dues paying members.
I own my seat, as do the other members of my immediate family, the seats have our names on engraved brass plates. That doesn’t mean I don’t pay yearly dues.
We have plot in a family cemetery in NY, but are also entitled to plots in the local synagogue cemetery.
Shul Rabbis OOT tend to be full-time employees of the congregation, quite a different position from the Rav in a shteibel.February 12, 2019 3:29 pm at 3:29 pm #1678319MrSarahLevine613Participant
Shuls can operate in one of two basic ways. They can fund raise with no expectations. In NJ, some non-orthodox synagogues have gone to this model believing that people were not joining because they didnt want to pay money. (This is not an invite to discuss that issue — im just saying the thought process). Chabad shuls have this construct for the most part — where there are no dues — and the local rabbi raises money. The second model is that there is a budget — and that dues are set to meet the budget. In modern orthodox shuls or out of town shuls that have full time/full paid rabbis — it is hard to do so without having a predictible source of income. (There are benefits that come with membership but the main point of membership is to pay the rabbi, pay the youth leaders and keep the heat and the lights on.)February 12, 2019 4:10 pm at 4:10 pm #1678336
CTL that’s not the case in shuls in my neighborhood.February 12, 2019 4:12 pm at 4:12 pm #1678337
GH I hardly get aliyos anyway. The only times I’ve gotten was when I bought for myself. It just looks like a racket to me.February 12, 2019 5:00 pm at 5:00 pm #1678385BocaMaggidParticipant
You pay dues because you live in and support your community. It’s not about what you get, it’s about what you give, Be responsible, do your part and be happy you live in a thriving Jewish neighborhood.February 12, 2019 9:06 pm at 9:06 pm #1678454
If a paying member of the shul and a non-member both have yahrzeit on a given day, the paying member is accorded a place ahead of the non-member for honors. To quote the old American Express advertisements: “Membership has its privileges”February 12, 2019 9:11 pm at 9:11 pm #1678459
CTL, What would happen if the chiyuv of the non paying member was bigger (e.g. yahrtzeit vs. avel during 11 months)?February 12, 2019 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm #1678481
That’s a halachic question. Halacha, not membership (unless Halacha has that as a criteria), should control the answer.February 13, 2019 1:28 am at 1:28 am #1678510
I believe halacha allows a shul to have such a policy.February 13, 2019 7:02 am at 7:02 am #1678555rationalParticipant
Shuls have absolute rights to determine kibbudim of all types. If a shul decides that a non-member has no rights, then he has no rights. His level of “chiyuv” (sic) is irrelevant. If he has yahrzeit or is in shloshim, he must find a stranger-friendly shul. That is the minhag (there is no halachah here, except that the shul has absolute authority) as practiced in Europe for hundreds of years. A good example is the proclamation on the back wall of the Alte-neu shul in Prague from the days of the Noda B’yehudah. Easily available online.February 13, 2019 7:03 am at 7:03 am #1678561jdbParticipant
The reason to become a paying member, to the best of your ability, is to support the institution as a shul, to be part of a kehilla. It cost a great deal to maintain and operate building, and a kehilla. Few rabbanim are making it big, but their salaries must be paid on time, siddurim must be purchased and maintained, the building must be cleaned and upkept, etc. Purchasing a seat is just one way of being part of the kehilla, and having your name on the seat does not mean that your neighbor’s guests cannot sit there if you arrive late. As a kehilla, you share and share alike, based on the standards and practices of the kehilla.
Shul membership is not like buying a slice of pizza. You buy in because you believe in it and you are part of the group.February 13, 2019 7:24 am at 7:24 am #1678580DovidBTParticipant
the paying member is accorded a place ahead of the non-member for honors.
Do you score more points with Hashem for getting honors, as opposed to sitting in your seat davening?February 13, 2019 9:40 am at 9:40 am #1678614anonymous JewParticipant
Dovid BT, and your point being?February 13, 2019 9:42 am at 9:42 am #1678595
“His level of “chiyuv” (sic) is irrelevant. If he has yahrzeit or is in shloshim, he must find a stranger-friendly shul. That is the minhag (there is no halachah here, except that the shul has absolute authority) as practiced in Europe for hundreds of years.”
This is halachicly and factually false even though it is your gut feeling.February 13, 2019 10:02 am at 10:02 am #1678602
Actually owning the seat with my nameplate on it does mean that my neighbor’s CANNOT sit there if I arrive late.
Our shul has signs in the lobby advising guests to check with an usher or the Gabbai for available seats. Also, a notice that seats with name plates are not available to be used at will.
I am seldom late, generally if caused by a true emergency. I expect my seat to be open when I arrive, The last time I was late was first Day R”H when my MIL was niftara the night before in our home. I took extra time to make sure my daughters had Mrs. CTL comforted and rounded up the grandchildren and arrived about 10. I found it comforting to have our family block of seats waiting for us.
That said, if I know I’ll not be in shul for Shabbos or Yuntif I let the Gabbai know in advance and he is free to let others use my seat.February 13, 2019 10:03 am at 10:03 am #1678605
“What would happen if the chiyuv of the non paying member was bigger (e.g. yahrtzeit vs. avel during 11 months)?”
The first time this happened the guest would be given the honor (provided the paying member was not sponsoring a kiddush/oneg on that date). The second time the Rav or Gabbai would explain to the guest that the honor belonged to dues paying members and suggest the guest join (if a local resident).
I changed the verbiage in my answer from non-paying member to differentiate between guest and congregants who for some reason are unable to pay dues.February 13, 2019 10:04 am at 10:04 am #1678607
Just a a point of information:
OOT is is not unusual for people to belong and pay dues to multiple shuls. Many people pay dues to the shul they grew up in so that they will be able to be buried in family plots on that shul’s cemetery.
Others pay dues for business reasons supporting all the torah institutions in town.February 13, 2019 10:05 am at 10:05 am #1678613
jdb so I give at the melave malka and buy an aliyah. What bothers me is I get treated like a fly on the wall, but when it comes to giving money, people all of a sudden send me emails and WhatsApp. In theory if I feel part of a Shul, I’ll pay for membership. And I’ve paid for membership before.February 13, 2019 10:06 am at 10:06 am #1678648
In most shuls, the hierarchy of awarding kibbudim is almost always an unwritten hybrid policy of the chiyuv of individuals per halacha, the “status” of the individual in the shul’s/minyan’s informal ranking of daveners that often goes beyond just member/non-member and in many cases, the mood of the gabbai at a particular point in time. The rules for an aliyah on shabbos/yom tov often vary from who is asked to daven for the amud on a weekday shachris/mincha minyan and the old minhagim on the significance of shlishi/shishi etc.February 13, 2019 10:07 am at 10:07 am #1678676Uncle BenParticipant
DovidBT; Does the neshoma that one davens at the amud for “score more points with Hashem” than if one would just daven in one’s seat?February 13, 2019 1:34 pm at 1:34 pm #1678821DovidBTParticipant
@anonymous Jew: I was asking a question, not making a point.
@Uncle Ben: I don’t know. Does it?February 13, 2019 2:08 pm at 2:08 pm #1678855
1: So give anonymously at the Melavah Malkah and check the box say “don’t share my information” with all the other schneurers on your mailing listFebruary 13, 2019 2:20 pm at 2:20 pm #1678878Avram in MDParticipant
“I hardly get aliyos anyway. The only times I’ve gotten was when I bought for myself.”
“What bothers me is I get treated like a fly on the wall, but when it comes to giving money, people all of a sudden send me emails and WhatsApp.”
My shul has more than one minyan on both weekdays and Shabbos. There was one particular gabbai, who for whatever reason, did not make eye contact with me, did not respond to my greetings of good morning or good Shabbos, and it was quite rare for me to be called up for an aliya at his minyan other than an occasional gelila (let’s see if that triggers popa to post). For reasons unrelated to this, I switched to a different minyan in the same shul, and the gabbai at that minyan greets me every time I see him, and makes sure that every regular member gets called up for aliyos on a regular basis. I wonder if there were some way for you to break the ice with the gabbai at your shul, or switch minyans, it might alter how you are treated when it comes time for kibbudim.February 13, 2019 2:36 pm at 2:36 pm #1678888
Why do folks want kibbudim for themselves in shul?February 13, 2019 2:46 pm at 2:46 pm #1678897zahavasdadParticipant
I am just going to answer about some non-orthodox who do not charge
What they do is they have a few generous rich members who have agreed to basically pay the bills of the templeFebruary 13, 2019 3:01 pm at 3:01 pm #1678900
Joseph, something stings at the nostrils when you don’t get kibbudim.February 13, 2019 9:59 pm at 9:59 pm #1679422
Avram in Maryland: Two options: Either make the gabbai rishon at the early minyan the gabbai sheini at the later minyan and vice verse OR move from the Baltimore area to Silver Spring or Potomac where you will find considerably more welcoming minyanim and gabaaim.February 14, 2019 5:59 pm at 5:59 pm #1679906lowerourtuition11210Participant
GH: I can state that the mood of the gabbai in my shul has nothing to do with deciding on aliyot. The gabbai keeps track of who received aliyot
for the year. He reviews his list and decides based on who may not have been in shul for a few weeks and those who did not have an aliyah for a significant amount of time. If a mispallel has a chiyuv for an aliya he is welcome to remind the gabbai about it and will be included in the list of those receiving aliyot. On a yom tov, the kibuddim are sold except if their is an absolute chiyuv (yahrtzeit) or someone whose wife gave birth or the avi haben or sandek for a bris and that number of aliyot are not sold.February 14, 2019 6:26 pm at 6:26 pm #1679917
You are fortunate to daven in a shul with such an ehrliche gabbai who systematically tracks all the daveners in terms of when they last received a kavod and when they have a known chiyuv with flexibility to accommodate an unforeseen chiyuv. You also note that your gabbai will even deviate from the normal she’nadar “auction” of aliyos on a yom tov to accommodate a chiyuv. What you describe is halevai, how it should work in all shuls but that has not been my experience. Its not all that unusual for their to be “cliques” in some smaller shuls and shtieblach such that aregular davener can be made to feel like an outsiders.February 15, 2019 11:50 am at 11:50 am #1680249Avram in MDParticipant
“Why do folks want kibbudim for themselves in shul?”
I don’t think it’s about the kibbudim. It’s about feeling welcome, noticed, and a part of the shul.February 18, 2019 10:41 am at 10:41 am #1681295MrSarahLevine613Participant
“In most shuls, the hierarchy of awarding kibbudim is almost always an unwritten hybrid policy of the chiyuv of individuals per halacha, the “status” of the individual in the shul’s/minyan’s informal ranking of daveners that often goes beyond just member/non-member and in many cases, the mood of the gabbai at a particular point in time. ”
In our shul, there is a written policy. I dont recall it exactly but i think that chiyuvim get precedence — but members over non members over guests etc. Something like that. It makes total sense. Im sure feeling may have been hurt at some point – but the Rav estabished the protocol and wrote it down so all the minyanim would be consistent.
“I don’t think it’s about the kibbudim. It’s about feeling welcome, noticed, and a part of the shul.”
I think thats 100% correct. Giving someone a kibbud (guest, newcome) acknowledges their presence in a concrete way. The same can be done by announcing the presence of the preson. This really depends on the shul. In Brooklyn, Lakewood, Monsey , Israel — there are som many shuls and so many guests — that it would be unreasonable to expect that the Gabbai or Rov would notice them. Out of town shuls — or my shul (which is not out of town) people would notice you and ackonwledge/welcome you. (I should say that recently i was in Monsey — i dont even recall the name of the shul — but it was pretty big — and many people came up to me after davening on shabbos. Very nice).February 18, 2019 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm #1681309
I actually witnessed a scenario while on vacation visiting a certain shul (to be unnamed) in Florida:
Shabbos shachris, davening starts with around 20 men, at least 15 of them are non-member visitors,
The non-member guests ARE the minyan!! (Except for Rov, Gabbei and three regulars)
The chazon for shachris is a visitor that has a chiyuv.
Yet, lo and behold, at shochen ad a few members trickle in – one has a chiyuv and wants the omud (he will catch up quickly by saying Boruch Sh’Amar. Ashrei, Oz Yoshir…)!
Guess who davens at omud from Shochen Ad – the member chiyuv!
More members wander in after shmonei esrei and they need the limited siddurim, chumashimm, seats and Aliyos.
These late attending members demand their seats, siddurim, chumashim and bump the chiyuvim for aliyos of the visitors that MADE THE MINYAN!
I felt a sense of injustice – if you want your “rights” as a member, COME ON TIME!
Do late coming members get their seats reserved indefinitely – to remain empty, until they show up?
At what point does the “reservation” expire and the seat is freed up?
I think of “stand by” at the airlines, when a reserved seat remains empty, the stand-by passenger gets it just before take-off.
When is “take-off” in shul davening? (Hodu, Boruch sh’amar, shochen ad, kriya, kiddush)February 18, 2019 5:39 pm at 5:39 pm #1681565
Reserving and “saving” for someone else has gotten out of hand – a shul with limited siddurim: can someone save a stack of siddurim for friends and family that haven’t arrived yet? Can someone save a few seats for friends and family?
If so, is there a limit, on how many seats or siddurim one can save?
I come to a kiddush and literally, half the seats are “reserved” or “save” by one person for all her family or friends. That seems wrong!
Zochim l’adom, one can acquire for someone else, even if one does not need for himself, BUT only if lo chav l’acherim, it does not cause damage/harm for others. Seats, siddurim are limited and chapping them for others that aren’t here causes damage to those of us that are here.February 18, 2019 6:47 pm at 6:47 pm #1681578
Zochim l’adom, one can acquire for someone else – because of “migo d’zachi l’nafshei, zocha nami l’chavrei” (because one can acquire for oneself, one can also acquire for his friend), but a person can’t take 5 shul seats for themselves (it’s one seat per customer – unless excessively obese), likewise, a person can take a siddur for themselves – but only one, so how can they chap for others?
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