Congregation Or Atid, a modern, innovative synagogue in Wayland announces its new approach to affiliation with the introduction of “sustaining pledges”. Or Atid is one of only 20 synagogues in the US to introduce this breakthrough alternative, making membership more accessible and affordable to Jews in Metrowest.
According to Howard Gold, President of Or Atid, “The sustaining pledge model is a natural fit for Or Atid. Dues are something you pay to a health club, not to a community. We need to sustain our synagogue to the best of our abilities, but it should be a gift from the heart.”
This new model replaces the nearly 50 year-old traditional approach of “fee for service” common across the US based on assumptions about worship and financial ability that are now obsolete. Rather than receiving an annual dues statement, congregants will now receive a pledge form showing what is required to sustain the community, with a request to pledge what they can.
According to Rabbi Sally Finestone “When we look to the book of Exodus, where the Israelites join together to build the great Tabernacle in the wilderness, no one is required to bring a specific thing, instead, everyone brings what they can – from the smallest to the largest, and it is all equally valued and treasured. This is what sustains us. ”
Gold continues “We hope to nurture an environment where those who can pledge the sustaining amount, or more, will be inspired and moved to do so. Those that cannot will pledge to their ability, with the knowledge and expectation that they are full and essential members of our community with a true stake in what we do here.”
The primary difference is for those facing extreme financial stress, they will be able to pledge what they are able — no questions, no judgments, and no abatement requests. For young families who are just starting out, seniors on a limited income, or others who would like to join but can’t afford the dues, now there is a way to be part of Or Atid’s community in a welcoming and comfortable way.
Before adopting this new change, several discussions and surveys were sent to Or Atid’s membership sharing the sustaining pledge model. The response was an overwhelming endorsement of the proposal, demonstrating a unified commitment to eliminating the barriers of membership and welcoming all those who want to join.
Gold states “Congregation Or Atid is not your parents’ conservative synagogue. We are progressive, forward-thinking and inclusive. We anticipate that those who are currently unaffiliated will be attracted to Or Atid not only for our new sustaining pledge program, but because of our community-based, Sunday morning programming, the inclusiveness of our members, our wonderful Rabbi and Hebrew school, and the absolute priority we place on relationships.
“We want everyone to be a part of our Community and to stay a part of our Community as full members, giving from their heart , with no barriers or judgement.”
Congregation Or Atid, 97 Concord Road, Wayland, MA. www.congregationoratid.org, 508-358-9623.
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