Recently I moved to a new home and along with that I started looking at new gyms. At most of the gyms
I visited they would try to sell me on the value of membership at their gym, and sell me on their tiers of memberships. As someone that works out a lot, I should be interested in Executive Membership, where I could have my own locker, access to a personal trainer, and parts of the gym that not all members have access to. Instead of choosing the top tier membership I chose the standard membership, which was a little more in my price range, would allow me to bring my boys, and I knew I would still be able to get a good workout in.
I bring this up because it is one of the conversations brought up here at the Temple "What is the value of membership?" That is an important question to ask, and more importantly, it’s an important question for everyone in our congregation to have an answer to.
Here at the Temple, long gone are the days where you might have tiers of membership. There are no numbers or name plates in the pews where you could reserve your seat for services. We don’t have reserved parking spots for congregants except for a few handicap parking spots and a spot for the Rabbi. We don’t sell tickets for the High Holiday services, which you might receive for free if your annual contribution to the congregation was high enough.
Here at the Temple no membership is different or at a higher level than any other. So what is the value of membership here? Here’s my own answer. Being a member of the Temple means you have the opportunity to engage your Jewish faith through worship, spirituality, social action and educational programs offered here. Through that engagement, I believe that it will lead to a richer and more meaningful life.
I know that I have experienced that in my own life. Though not Jewish myself, I have always felt welcomed, supported, and included in the community. I’ve built relationships that have helped me continue to grow as human being, and have a richer and more meaningful life. For example, two years ago I was approached about joining a Temple team that was doing the annual Fight for Air Climb downtown. We did it again this year. It was great knowing I was doing something that was good for me and for others. More importantly, it was great knowing I was doing it with people that felt the same way.
I hope that as a member of the Temple you have your own story of being welcomed, supported, and included in our great congregation. Those stories are the true value of being a member here, and we can’t put a price tag on those experiences.
That being said, we still do need your support so that we can ensure that Temple members can continue to have those experiences from one generation to the next. As we begin to come to the close of our fiscal year, you will receive a few more statements from the Temple. Your fulfillment of what you have set as your annual contribution is what will ensure that all our members can experience the value of being part of a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive Jewish community.
Shalom, David Muenchrath