Definition of Membership

Q.    What does it mean to be a “member”? 
A.    Members of our congregation have entered into a brit, or covenant, to support and be supported by the congregation. Membership allows the synagogue and the member to affirmatively acknowledge their commitment to each other.
Q.   What benefits do I get as a member?
A.   Membership in the synagogue affords the following privileges:
  • services of our rabbi for life cycle events
  • ability to enroll your children in our religious school, B’Yachad (operated jointly with two other local synagogues)
  • step-by-step guidance for your child to become a bar or bat mitzvah
  • eligibility for your child to attend highly acclaimed summer camps of the Union for Reform Judaism — Crane Lake Camp and Camp Eisner, both in the Berkshires
  • ability for your teen to participate in our high school youth group, YOBS, and, through YOBS, to attend regional teen events of the North American Federation of Temple Youth
  • occasional care packages and other fun ways to keep in touch with your son or daughter away at college
  • sponsorship and tutelage of our rabbi to non-Jewish spouses, partners or others family members interested in becoming Jews by choice
  • ability to be buried in the B’nai Sholom Cemetery and to purchase burial privileges at reduced member rates.
  • congregational support in the form of meals, rides, and other needed activities at times of illness, mourning, or other difficulties
  • congregational recognition, celebration, and blessings at various events throughout the year in honor of volunteers, students, long-standing or new members, and the like
  • discounted member rates for adult education classes, building rental fees, events where we charge admission, etc.
  • voting privileges – At B’nai Sholom, every adult member has a vote on the annual budget, the officers and members of the board, and our rabbi’s contract.
  • committee involvement – Our committees are the foundation of our participatory, empowered congregation, affording a great way to meet people, to feel a part of the congregation, and to work to improve the congregation, the community or the world. Most committees are open to all members.
  • eligibility to be on the board of trustees or an officer of the congregation – a great way to exercise your leadership skills! Open to all Jewish members of the synagogue
  • inclusion in and access to our congregational directory – the way to know everybody’s name and contact info
  • the pleasures of being part of a multi-generational group of people you probably wouldn’t otherwise know – a place to share the wisdom of the old and the energy of the young, recipes and hand-me-downs, leads on job openings, good babysitters, and houses going on the market, professional and personal advice
  • the added spirituality that comes from praying in a setting that feels like home and family
  • the additional meaning that comes from studying with others from diverse backgrounds who can debate in a safe space
Q.   What are my obligations as a member?
A.   Members support the congregation in a host of ways, through their attendance, their volunteer and leadership activities, their favorable remarks in the wider community, and their financial contributions.  At B’nai Sholom, as at most synagogues, we have a dues structure for members.  However, anyone who is unable to pay the standard amounts can seek a confidential dues reduction agreement.  No one is denied membership for an inability to pay.