Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
About Membership Commitments in Place of Dues Assessments
We are a vibrant spiritual home and place of learning where all individuals can deepen their Jewish identity, engage with our community and give back to our world.
Question 1: What is mission-based giving?
Answer: It is an opportunity for each member to make an investment in CEEBJ, taking into account what the congregation means to you, your family, our larger Jewish community and Jewish continuity worldwide.
Question 2: Are other congregations using a similar approach to financial support?
Answer: Yes. In fact, only one out of every four Reform congregations still uses a membership dues assessment program. The Union for Reform Judaism reports that congregations that are experiencing membership growth are the ones that have implemented alternative practices for annual support, including the approach we have initiated.
Question 3: How will this new system help our financial situation?
Answer: The Board of Trustees and the Future Vision Committee are confident that this will move us closer to the goal of achieving a balanced budget. Strong membership commitments, combined with the generous endowed and leadership gifts of certain of our members and the prospect of membership growth under this giving model, will get us to that goal.
Question 4: How do I determine what to give each year?
Answer: As we transition to this system of support, we suggest that you use your past dues level as a baseline for your new membership commitment, increasing that gift amount for the coming year and thereafter. The annual Membership Commitment Form will provide information about suggested levels of giving.
Question 5: Is there a minimum commitment to be a member?
Answer: Financial hardship has never been a barrier to membership in our congregation. However, we encourage all members to give according to their capability, making the support of CEEBJ one of your most meaningful commitments.
Question 6: How will I make payments on this commitment?
Answer: As in the past, you will have the opportunity to advise us as to how you wish to fulfill your commitment and we will follow your instructions to help facilitate those payments, whether by check or charge, monthly or quarterly, and always with a note of thanks.
Question 7: Will there be other opportunities for giving during the year?
Answer: Yes. Your membership commitment is a voluntary contribution to support annual operations. During the course of the year, certain traditional appeals and giving opportunities will continue, as the High Holy Days Appeal and the annual Cantor’s concert. And we will be working to complete the capital campaign that stalled in 2009 as a result of the economic downturn and to ensure our future by encouraging legacy giving through planned gifts.
Question 8: Will there continue to be other fees and charges?
Answer: Yes, we will continue to charge for rental of synagogue facilities, school fees, and similar services available to members.
Question 9: Must I make a commitment to receive High Holy Days tickets?
Answer: Yes. In order to receive High Holy Days tickets, a congregant must make a membership commitment for the year and be current in the payment arrangements made for all commitments to the congregation.
Question 10: What about my past commitments for dues and other charges?
Answer: Members are expected to fulfill all existing financial obligations.
Question 11: Who can I talk with if I have further questions or need some clarification?
Answer: Our Executive Director and members of the Future Vision Committee are well-versed on this new approach to giving and would be happy to speak with you. Just call the synagogue office and someone will talk with you or get back to you promptly.
Question 12: How can I learn more about other giving opportunities at CEEBJ and the concept of mission-based giving?
Answer: You can start at our website, www.ceebj.org, and click on Donations and Payments. Over the coming weeks, we will be posting a variety of additional information on our mission-based approach to giving and the many opportunities to support our congregational community, along with a very informative article on giving recently that was recently published in Reform Judaism Magazine (http://reformjudaismmag.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=3338). And please do not hesitate to call/write our Executive Director ([email protected]), or Betty Lieberman, our Coordinator of Legacy Giving, for more information.