It Costs How Much?!
Posted by lchaimlover on October 22, 2007
Back in September, my boyfriend received an e-mail. It was a request for membership at our shul. He sighed, muttered something about the miseries of adulthood, and began to embark on the Jewish rite of passage of becoming a member of a synagogue. For him, there was no hesitation, no question, he just filled out the form and signed the check. Now mind you there was a little griping. But never a question of, “Do I have to?”
But I’ve noticed that not everyone is the same. Yes, I know, it was a shock to me too. A recent article in YNet by Rabbi Levi Brackman attacks just this issue. Rabbi Brackman claims that because of synagogue dues, less and less people are getting involved in Judaism.
Now in this forum, we have had many arguments regarding tzedakkeh and supporting the Jewish community and upon reading this article, I came upon a notion. If we aren’t paying for shul, tzedakkah, or the Federation, what are we supporting? Sadly, I have a feeling the answer is nothing.
This past Shabbos, I was at my rebbe’s house for dinner, and the young man I was talking to said that he would rather donate his time then his money. And while that notion is altruistic, and one that many of us share, how often do you actually volunteer to do anything in the local Jewish community? Most of the non-profits I have been involved with are lacking in both volunteers and money. Where are all the idealists?
While I agree that if dues are all that are keeping people from shul, then we should be flexible, but as with charity, I think that we are just lazy. While I think we like the idea of having no dues, as with tzedakkah, I don’t think so many more people would sign up for minyan or laining if it were free. We don’t want to pony up time or dough, we just want to feel good, in the communal hippie sense, but with deoderant.
So as perfectly good synagogues, chock full of warm fuzzy feeling goodness, politics, and community, lay in wait, our generation is just doing an awful lot of talking. As usual.