Join and Support Temple Emanuel

To ensure support for the mission of our Temple and the survival of the Reform Jewish community in Grand Rapids, we look to the teaching of the Torah, which states, “You shall accept for Me from every person whose heart so moves him [or her]” (Exodus 25:2). Financial contributions should be according to your heart and means, with every household participating equally in the benefits of the community.

In September 2016, the Board approved a new approach to financially supporting the Temple that is effective immediately. This approach embraces the belief that financial ability should never be a barrier to belonging. Every gift is meaningful and needed. The details of this new approach are:

  1. Completely eliminate the pro-rata dues system (based on a benchmark amount) of fundraising and replace it with a tzedakah based system where members contribute what they can afford based on their individual circumstances. This means that there will be no more references to “dues” or “benchmark” in statements for any form of fundraising.

  2. Each year, members will receive a request for a “tzedakah commitment.” This provides members an opportunity to evaluate their ability to contribute to Temple and support the Reform Jewish community in Grand Rapids. The tzedakah commitment drive for this fiscal year will begin this month. Next year’s (and every year thereafter) commitment drive will be in February for the 2017/2018 fiscal year.

  3. All tzedakah commitments made with this form will be for Temple Emanuel’s main operating fund, which covers the Temple’s daily operating expenses such as utilities, insurance, and payroll.

  4. Community members will be asked to submit their annual commitment within 30 days of the request. All tzedakah commitments are confidential.

  5. Those who financially contribute to Temple Emanuel will be members of Temple Emanuel for that year.

  6. After the annual commitments have been tabulated, the Board will then determine the Temple’s budget for the coming fiscal year in May of that year (except for this year when the tabulation will occur in September). Next year’s report of total commitments and the expected budget will be communicated to the community during the annual meeting.

  7. If the amount of total commitments are not sufficient for the Temple to support its base functions, it will be immediately communicated to all members and a second commitment drive will commence.

  8. The Treasurer will report Temple’s current financial condition to the Board at least every other month. This will then be reported to the community through the Board’s monthly minutes and through quarterly reports to members.

  9. Members will receive a redesigned statement, “Summary of Tzedakah,” that will provide them a summary of what they have contributed to Temple for that fiscal year. It will be sent to contributors either monthly, quarterly or semi-annually (based on their choice).

  10. Temple will continue to hold special fundraising events and capital campaigns to further advance Reform Judaism and support the Temple in Grand Rapids.

Some may wonder what amount of contribution would be enough to ensure that Temple can meet its necessary and fixed expenses. Should we receive contributions that exceed our base budget, then we have an opportunity to address building & facility repairs and maintenance that currently can only be met with directed or increased contributions..

The success of this new financial support method hinges on several necessary factors. First, that all fundraising is conducted consistently on an annual basis. Second, Congregants have a right to know the financial health of Temple Emanuel on a regular basis. Last, that we must enhance the joy of supporting our community through voluntary giving.

Thank you for affirming your ongoing commitment to Temple Emanuel and the Reform Jewish community. As I have stated before, a contribution to Temple Emanuel supports it for when you need it, and for when our friends and neighbors need it too. Temple Emanuel is a better and stronger community because you and your family are a part of it.