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Open Doors frequently asked questions (FAQs)


How is this different from a traditional dues model?

  • Suburban Temple – Kol Ami has taken 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. We inform the entire congregation of the per household cost to run temple and each household is asked to make their best membership commitment.  It's easy! It's simple! And, it allows us to focus on making ST-KA the best it can be.

How will it work?

  •  After a successful vote by the membership in attendance at our June 2015 Annual Meeting, we launched our Open Doors campaign.
  • Ideally, our members will pay 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. Open Doors is not a voluntary contribution, in that some donation is required of all our members.
  • We are proud of the excellent programming, education, and spiritual engagement provided at ST-KA.  We ask that that you give from the heart.

How was the Sustaining Amount calculated?

  • We take 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 Our Tent, special programs, or lifecycle events for which a separate fee is required.

What is the Open Doors contribution income used for?

  • The yearly Open Doors contribution 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?

  • 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.

Have other temples adopted this system?


  • Nationally, there are now many congregations with systems similar to our Open Doors model.

What else should I know?

  • 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 congregation we rely on, and love.

What else can I do?

  • Bring in new members! Ask friends and family to join you at an upcoming event.
  • Share a name with Rabbi Vann or 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!
Fri, May 17 2024 9 Iyar 5784