Open Doors

Open Doors 2016-10-14T19:29:37+00:00

Our Doors are Open…Suburban Temple – Kol Ami is proud to launch a new membership model predicated on kehillah (community), spirituality, and engagement.

A Note from Our President and Rabbi,

June 11, 2015

On Sunday, June 7th, at the 67th Annual Meeting, the membership of Suburban Temple – Kol Ami voted on a hcange to hte temple’s constitution which allowed us to adopt a new membership model called Open Doors.

Open Doors eliminates the term and the concept of dues from our vocabulary, replacing it with contribution; a pledged amount of your chossing to sustain the spiritual and fiscal strength of Suburban Temple – Kol Ami.  Open Doors is conceived to send the message that while there is a fiscal reality to running our organization, money should never be a barrier to spiritual engagement.  Our doors are open to all.

While we are not the first in the country to consider such a model, we are the first in our region.  As with the founding of this temple, when were were the earliest and only to embrace interfaith practices, here again do we pioneer an initiative that is responsive and inclusive.

By way of education and guidance, we will provide the yearly “sustaining” amount – the figure that represents what it costs, per member home, to run the synagogue.  The sustaining amount is not dues in sheep’s clothing.  It is not a way of increasing dues this year or any other.  We believe that sharing this amount is a gateway to strengthening our community and creating a covenant of success.

Some may choose to contribute the sustaining amount.  Some may continue to pay as they have in the past (though we’d happily accept a 10% increase, where possible).  And we are grateful for those who will double the sustaining amount, a gift that helps support another member.

Immeasurable thanks to the Membership 2.0 Task Force, chaired by Ronni Bialosky, who studied and strategized  for over two years and Immediate Past President Sara Stashower, whose vision and passion inspired us on this journey.

May we be like Abraham and Sarah’s tent, open to all who seek a Jewish community guided by Reform Jewish values, prayer, and lifelong learning.


Kim Rosner                    Rabbi Allison Vann

What else can I do? 2015-08-29T19:39:56+00:00

Bring in new members! Ask friends and family to join you at an upcoming event. S hare a name with Brett Shankman. Forward the Temple Times to someone you know. You will hear more about Membership initiatives, such as welcoming new members to ST-KA, in the near future. We hope you’ll join in these and other efforts in the coming year.

Any questions at any time? Ask!

What else should I know? 2016-10-14T19:29:45+00:00

Part of the charge of this membership initiative is to look at all contributions to the temple, such as life cycle and program payments. Most (if not all) of these have not changed for close to 20 years. It is possible you will see some adjustments over time.

We will continue to solicit for the Annual Fund as well as funding for capital needs and special initiatives. Here again, we ask you to do what is comfortable and     commensurate with capacity. Making a gift of any amount is a demonstration of commitment to the success of the organization we rely on, and love.

How is this different from our current structure? 2016-10-14T19:29:45+00:00


In some ways, not at all. People have paid “at will” in the sense that we have always accepted whatever contribution a member can offer.

In other ways, we are taking an important step forward in adopting a point-of-view about membership, by positioning it as an individual and personal commitment to the success of our synagogue.

What is the goal? 2016-10-14T19:29:45+00:00

To simplify a currently complex and cumbersome system.

To eliminate the traditional nomenclature of membership.

To state clearly that to us, you are not “single”, or an “associate,”  or a “young adult” with a dues structure associated to such status. To us, you are — simply and   straightforwardly — a member of Suburban Temple-Kol Ami.

To educate members about the true costs of running an organization by being open about the sustaining number to provide the benefits of membership.

To create a sense of community where we each — to the best of ability — are responsible for the fiscal health of the organization.

To make certain that money is never a barrier to membership or an uncomfortable conversation to avoid.

To continue to fulfill the promise of being fiscally sound and spiritually strong.

How will it work? 2016-10-14T19:29:45+00:00


Ideally, our members will make a gift as close to the sustaining number as is possible. Many will contribute above the sustaining amount, helping others for whom the sustaining amount is not possible. Another option is to increase the amount you are accustomed to paying by 10%.

Open Doors is not a voluntary contribution, in that some donation is required of all our members. Similar to prior years, we ask that 25% of your pledge be paid prior to September 1st, which will ensure that you receive High Holy Day tickets.

We ask that that you give from the heart.

How was the sustaining amount calculated? 2015-08-29T19:40:56+00:00

We took the current operating expenses, divided by the number of  homes in our congregation. We did not include expenses derived from the income of grants.

This figure represents the “cost of doing business” based on our current programs, building operations, and services.  It does not include fees for the Religious School, special programs, or life cycle events for which a separate fee is required.    

What is the pledge income used for? 2016-10-14T19:29:45+00:00


The yearly pledge income will be used for annual operating expenses. This does not include special needs or specific requests, such as the Annual Fund,a Capital Campaign, or other fundraising events.

What if I can’t afford the Sustaining Amount? 2015-08-29T19:41:25+00:00

Our Doors Are Open. We do not want the ability to pay to be a barrier to membership or participation. We ask you to pay what you are able and consider fair, to create your Jewish path, and to contribute to the future of the temple.

Regardless of the amount you give, you will always be considered a full member.