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Shalom!

We are excited to invite you to join us for a new year of inspiring services and engaging programming at CSAIR. To this end, we'd like to share with you a change in the typical membership fee structure.

In an effort to become a more inclusive and egalitarian community, we are separating membership dues from High Holiday seating. Beginning this year, all High Holiday seats, regardless of their location, will cost the same. We are doing this because we realized that the old system of different prices for different seats does not express our deepest values as a congregation.

Here's what you need to know:

  • You may, if you choose, have the same seats that you have always had for the High Holidays. If you would like to try sitting in a new place, we will make every effort to accommodate the request. In order to accommodate either request, we need to receive your membership renewal form by August 1. You may pay in full at that time or work out a payment plan with Executive Director, Jennifer Knobe.

  • Annual dues have typically not reflected the actual cost of running the shul--$3,300 per member unit. This year, we are urging all who are able to stretch to this amount to become a Sustaining Member, or to make gifts of greater amounts as Leaders, Guardians, or Pillars. For those whose personal situation precludes making such a stretch, there is a category called Supporter. (See table for a full description of all dues levels.)

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Consider your relationship to the shul, and your dreams for our amazing community!

  2. Think about the gifts you gave us in previous years. We use the term gifts because we are thinking of what you gave in dues and what you gave in donations. We recognize that today, anyone who joins a shul is doing so from their hearts and so the term gift feels more appropriate than "dues" or "fees". Add it all up, and then ask yourself: Can I stretch a bit? Can I give some more to demonstrate my commitment to our community?

  3. Fill out the enclosed forms and return them to the office by Tuesday, August 1, 2017 even if you wish to return to previously assigned seats.


Your membership fees and every gift made with love to our congregation is deeply appreciated and helps us fulfill our mission to nourish joyful and meaningful Jewish living and to build an inclusive community.

We will hold an informational session about this new approach following the annual Congregational meeting on Tuesday, June 20th, where we will answer any questions you have and where you can make your seat requests on the spot.

Together, let's invest in CSAIR's vibrant Conservative Jewish community! Let's ensure that our shul continues to enrich our lives. Your gifts, your volunteer hours, and your presence make CSAIR a very special community.

Thank you for being our partners in this holy work.

Abby Pitkowsky
President
Steve Matthews
VP Operations

Why are we making these changes now?

Our Logic:
For many years our membership levels have been tied to where people sit in the sanctuary on the High Holidays.  We know that there are people who love the back row or the Parallel service or the Tent and those  who love the front row.  We believe that each member of our community is precious – no matter where they sit on Yom Tov.  This is the reason we are decoupling the link between where one sits and how much they contribute.

Our Transparency:
Another reason for this change is that for many years our dues have not reflected the actual cost of running the shul.  The difference was made up by intense fundraising.  The category we call “Sustainer” represents the total cost of running the shul divided by the number of family units in the congregation. 

Our Hope:
A third reason for the change is that our budgets have not allowed us much room to expand our vision. Our shul is thriving! It is filled on Shabbat and holidays; we have minyans twice a day; and hardly a week passes without a cultural or educational program.  But imagine what would happen if enough people decided to give an annual gift beyond the maintenance level? If people who are able, give $10,000 or $7,500 or $5,000, we could offer even more of what our mission challenges us to offer:   diverse approaches to learning, prayer and acts of loving-kindness. It would allow us to create a more compelling community for people of all ages and backgrounds.  It would help us to graciously welcome Hebrew School families, new members and young people and seniors who cannot afford our regular categories.  Your gifts help us ensure the future of this synagogue.