As most of you know, this year I decided to give the Yom Kippur Appeal with the hope of raising funds needed to cover the costs associated with our scholarship and dues reduction programs. While we’re still receiving your generous donations, I wanted to give you an update on how much we’ve raised so far and how these funds are helping our community.
We’d hoped that this year’s Yom Kippur Appeal would bring in $80,000. This $80,000 is income that the synagogue needs for general operating costs. It’s not intended to be used for our scholarship or dues reduction programs. To date, we’ve provided 42 families, including more than 40 children, with scholarships/dues reduction so that they can be active members of our synagogue family. These 42 families have been pulled out of the forest that I spoke about on Yom Kippur. There are other families, some with young children, who have come forward in need of assistance – we’re determined to help them connect with our community.
I’m happy to report that, to date, we’ve received Yom Kippur Appeal pledges in excess of $147,000 from 180 Ramat Shalom individuals and families. I asked us all to dig a little deeper this year and increase our pledges to ensure that we cover the costs of our scholarship and dues reductions. You did just this and I’m so grateful. We raised the $80,000 that was budgeted for operating expenses plus an additional $67,000 that is so needed to help folks connect to our community. This is more than I asked of you on Yom Kippur. Thank you.
I’m also happy to report that two members of our community have come forward to offer significant and ongoing support to our scholarship and dues reduction programs. This will make a real difference.
Furthermore, I’m working closely with a handful of business leaders in our synagogue community to examine the business model used by Ramat Shalom and pretty much every other synagogue in the country. There’s been a lot of discussion in the Jewish world about the failure of this business model that relies almost solely on membership fees. As the Jewish world is evolving quite rapidly, it’s evident to Jewish leaders that the very concept of membership fees distances people from synagogue life. While some congregations are playing around with different ways to bring in the revenue they need, no one has really come up with a new, effective synagogue business model. I’m hopeful that the business leaders that have agreed to work with me will help us implement a model that will provide the revenue Ramat Shalom needs to operate effectively while, at the same time, make synagogue life more accessible and appealing to anyone who wants to connect with our warm, loving Jewish community. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.
Again, thank you for your incredible generosity. If you have not yet taken part in the Yom Kippur Appeal, I hope you will consider doing so. I promise you, it will make a difference.