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Interested in becoming a member but still have questions?

Please contact Temple Administrator, Fawn Mendel or call the office at 914-725-5175.

We are excited to inform you that our Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to shift from our longstanding fixed dues financial model to a pledge commitment approach to sustaining our community.  This change will begin on July 1, 2016.

There are many reasons why this shift is significant.  The one that resonates most deeply for us is:

The opportunity to more fully and powerfully align membership at Scarsdale Synagogue with our values as a covenant community of shared lives and real relationships.  
This milestone is the culmination of more than two years of intensive research, study, reflection, and listening by the Board of Trustees, together with our clergy and the full synagogue community.  Our research included conversations with over 25 congregations around the country who have strengthened their communities through a switch to a pledge commitment model and looking at best practices for making this work financially.  We have also held open dialogues through community forums in December 2014, community conversations in mid-2015 and additional forums this January and February preceding the vote of the Board.  Links to the results of this research can be found on this page (on the right side for a desktop; on the bottom for a mobile device).
How will we redefine sustaining relationships between Scarsdale Synagogue and our members? 

Instead of a fee for service (dues) model, we are creating a financial partnership.  Every current and new member will be invited and expected to make a pledge: a financial commitment by each member informed not only by the needs of sustaining our synagogue, but our personal connection and engagement within our community.  Our support of Scarsdale Synagogue will reflect our desire to strengthen our synagogue in accordance with our individual financial abilities, with a realistic understanding that the resources of our synagogue (our clergy, staff, and building) do of course cost a great deal of money.
We know you will have many questions on how the pledge commitment model will work.

We are committed to ensuring that all of our members have a good understanding of our synagogue's financial needs and clear guidance regarding how to determine your own pledge.  The letter you received from our Finance Committee last week was an important expression of the transparency you can expect.  Please contact the Office if you need another copy, and if you have any questions or suggestions on ways that we can be even more transparent, we welcome your input. 
Communication will be critical to making this transition a success and we want (and need) your help!  We envision an ambitious outreach program, both to new members and former members.  We have every reason to believe that our new approach to synagogue giving will be an attractive one to potential members.  If you would like to volunteer to join us in our member-outreach efforts, or have names of people you would encourage us to reach out to, please contact our Membership Committee with an e-mail to Scott Rothstein.
Of course, we also hope that this shift will make your own giving to the synagogue a more meaningful experience.  You'll be hearing more in the coming weeks about the "mechanics" of this new model of financial support, including information to guide you through the process of determining your pledge.  We have confidence that our fellow congregants will continue to be generous as in the past, and we hope that those for whom standard dues payment was not possible in the past will feel a heightened sense of belonging in a community that allows us each to determine our financial ability to contribute.  In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about your 2016-2017 pledge, please feel free to call us at 914-725-5175.
Throughout our process, we have acknowledged that there is an element of the "unknown" embedded in this shift.  Although the experience of other synagogues makes us very optimistic that this change will strengthen our community, of course we will only know once it is implemented. Our Board and staff will be closely monitoring and assessing this shift in the coming months, and we will keep you posted.
Again: don't hesitate to be in touch.  We hope you'll partner with us in actualizing this exciting vision.  And as always, we welcome any questions or concerns you might have.
With kindest regards,
Rabbi Jeffrey Brown                                    
Cantor Chanin Becker


Some Background on the Board's Process and Links to Reports

In addition to the two years of formal study that our team did with experts from UJA-NY and faculty members around the country, we have engaged the congregation in the following ways up until now:
  • Our Board of Trustees studied with representatives of UJA-NY in April 2014 and reflected further on the topic throughout the last year.  
  • We facilitated two Community Forums for the entire congregation in December 2014 to brief our community on our initial research.
  • We established a Financial Model Task Force to follow up on UJA-NY’S 2015 comprehensive study "Are Voluntary Dues Right For Your Synagogue?". (If you would like to read a copy of the report, please be in touch with Rabbi Brown and he will be happy to get you a copy.)  This report offers an overview of synagogue financial models and explores why congregations (such as ours) are considering a change. Our Financial Model Task Force personally contacted the leadership of the more than 25 congregations indexed in the report who have already begun this work, to discern their best practices.  View the Financial Model task force’s report to our Board of Trustees.
  • We established a Task Force to conduct Community Conversations within Scarsdale Synagogue in the spring of 2015 to discern how our community understands the notion of temple membership, and how it would respond to a possible shift in our financial commitment model. More than 85 people participated in those community conversations. View the Community Conversations task force’s report to our Board of Trustees.

Fri, March 24 2023 2 Nisan 5783