What does membership mean at Kol Tzedek?
Kol Tzedek welcomes all members who wish to join our community. Following our values of kehillah (community), tzedek (justice), and nediv lev (generosity of heart), it is important to us to make Kol Tzedek accessible to everyone, be transparent about our finances, and value all of the contributions of time and talents from our members. It is our first priority that money not be a barrier or barometer of membership at Kol Tzedek.
Kol Tzedek offers over 360 engaging services, classes, and events each year, in addition to Torah school and children’s programming. We celebrate lifecycle events, provide pastoral care, and take action around issues of social justice in our community. Our synagogue provides a place to connect, learn, and grow.
To make all this possible, we depend on the financial support of our members. We ask each member household to make an annual contribution that is meaningful, significant, and affordable to you. Instead of requiring a fixed amount or a percentage of income that may make membership inaccessible, we use a Sustaining Shares model.
What is the Sustaining Shares model?
The Sustaining Shares model gives members information about the cost per household of actually running the synagogue (total budget ÷ number of households). We expect a range of contributions that are below, at, and above the Sustaining Share amount.
We ask each household to consider what is a meaningful, significant, and affordable contribution for you. Our collective contributions will sustain our synagogue as a diverse, welcoming community. Identifying the amount of your annual gift is a personal decision, and should be considered carefully, keeping in mind the actual cost per household to run the synagogue.
How does the Sustaining Shares model work?
For 5779 (2018-2019), the actual cost of running the synagogue is $1,400 per year or $118 per month for each household. This amount is what we will refer to as a Sustaining Share. (For reference, typical household dues for other synagogues in Philadelphia are around $3,000/year.) Our doors are open to everyone, whether you give $18 or $18,000 per year.
Research shows that to meet our goals, we need 40% of our congregation to contribute at or above the Sustaining Share ($1,400/year). If you have access to substantial financial resources, we ask you to contribute significantly above this amount. This will make it possible for members with access to fewer financial resources to contribute at a level that is affordable to them. Whatever you contribute, we value your membership.
Where can I get support on deciding what the right amount is for my household to give?
Get in touch and we’ll schedule a time for you to meet with a leader of our congregation. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org who will connect you.
How can I learn more about the process behind the Sustaining Shares model?
If you’d like to learn more about the research, decisions, and member responses to the Sustaining Shares model, we encourage you to read the handout from the Sustainability Task Force House Meetings. We also invite you to explore our online, interactive budget.
I'm ready to join!
Visit our Member Portal to join. We look forward to worshiping, learning, and growing with you! For those who do not wish to pay online, please contact email@example.com.
I'm not joining today, but I'd like to make a donation.
Please visit our donation page.