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Your Membership Matters

While our building may be closed to ensure everyone’s safety during this pandemic, our congregation is very much open and thriving. We have reinvented ourselves these past months — and will continue to do so into the near future — to recreate our beloved community.

Our Pandemic Story
Each Friday evening, many of you have gathered online to welcome Shabbat: kindling Sabbath candles; reciting our ritual prayers from your home; joining in spiritual and musical nourishment offered by Rabbi Soffer and Allan Friedman; and celebrating our B’nai Mitzvah. Our youngest members have tuned in weekly to sing with Zemer Allan; our adults have tuned in weekly for engaging and interactive Torah study. We have come together to be an online shiva community to comfort our mourners; and our Chevra Kadisha has established meaningful virtual rituals to ensure the Mitzvah of preparing the deceased for burial. 

We are learning all the ways that Judea Reform is about belonging and sacred community, taking care of one another and of our world, whether our building is physically open or not. We continue to stay connected in meaningful ways. And, this connection goes beyond our congregation. Reform synagogues around the world are discovering and feeling the power of being all together online, as one praying community, countering the reality of physical distancing.

The Weeks and Months Ahead . . .
As we move forward in the weeks and months ahead, we are excited by the opportunity to create more moments of belonging and connection. Plans are underway for a transformative and authentic High Holy Day experience for the Days of Awe (look for our High Holy Day “roadmap” later this summer). While Religious School will be virtual this fall, we are busy developing a Religious School program that will foster an enduring and impactful connection to Judaism, including a Racial Justice curriculum relevant to our time and Jewish values.

What else are we doing? Our congregational Racial Justice Initiative is in process and we will be rolling out many ways for you to be engaged with anti-racist work. Our Social Justice team is actively creating all kinds of opportunities for involvement in this COVID moment—from our Solidarity with Immigrant Justice Seminar series to postcard writing for voting rights and civic engagement to a COVID modified participation in dinners for Urban Ministries. Our Arts & Acquisitions team is preparing a virtual art show for the fall; our Membership team is working on a series of “virtual coffees” to gather members for informal social contact; Zemer Allan is working on innovative ways to bring more music to our worship (to highlight just a few forms of engagement).

Judea Reform is resilient and this moment in history has given us yet another moment to show how vital we are.

Why Your Membership Matters
Now more than ever, we all need community. We need to support each other through these uncertain, unprecedented times. Together, we must stand against racial injustice, anti-Semitism, hatred and division in our country and our state. We must engage to help protect those most vulnerable. We must come together to support healing.

And now is a moment for transparency: membership support funds nearly 70% of our annual operating budget. Your continued financial support is critical to ensure that our synagogue thrives in these challenging times. We are keeping our staff fully employed and redeployed; our building maintained (even if we are not in it!); redirecting budgetary funds to be successful in the COVID moment; and staying in the ready for our eventual reopening. Judea Reform’s mission has not changed—whether we create belonging in a virtual or physical environment—and your membership support allows us to pursue our mission as a vibrant, welcoming community where Jews, regardless of financial circumstances, gather to worship, learn, serve, and actively engage in the sacred traditions of our shared heritage.

Your continued membership and financial commitment ensures that now, and on the other side of this pandemic, Judea Reform remains a thriving, financially secure synagogue that will continue to enrich our lives now and for many years.

Some important news about the membership fee structure for 2020-21:

  • There will be no increase to membership fees.
  • Membership fee structure has been simplified (fees and dues are now included together).
  • We have completed payment on our mortgage and the Facilities Mortgage fee has ended.
  • As always, membership support is a philanthropic donation and is tax deductible.

As you know, the JRC Board of Trustees has always been committed to maintaining the egalitarian culture of our community where one’s financial circumstances should never be a barrier to congregational membership. We know that some members of our community may have been more deeply affected by this current financial crisis than others. We are committed to Judea Reform being a home for all.

Judea Reform Congregation is each of our members and the community we have built together. We are stronger because of our collective bond, which we rely on now more than ever. We sincerely hope that you will continue on your Jewish journey with us this year and will take a moment now to renew.

Chazak, Chazak V’nitzchazek, (“Be strong, be strong, and we will strengthen one another”)

Sr. Rabbi Matthew V. Soffer
Ziva Raney, President
Emily Young, Executive Director

P.S. Please consider renewing your membership by August 15th; your early membership pledge will help us plan for the coming year.

Wed, October 21 2020 3 Cheshvan 5781