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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. Each household is asked to make the best membership commitment that they can after being informed of what is costs per household to run the congregation.

What is the goal?

  • 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?

  •  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. 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?

  • 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 pledge income used for?

  • 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?

  • 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?


  • We are the first in this region! But many other temples around the country have, and the response has been positive.

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 organization 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!

Update this content.

Mon, December 10 2018 2 Tevet 5779