The Downtown Synagogue has spent a great deal of time these past few years exploring whether and how to move beyond the traditional membership dues structure, a discussion happening all over the country in large and small synagogues. As a congregation with a long and successful tradition of free services and programs, we are pleased to announce that we too are altering our model to make dues voluntary. We are replacing our annual Membership Drive with an Annual Campaign in order to raise the funds we need to continue to operate.
What will this look like? Moving forward, rather than a bill for membership dues, you will receive an annual letter and membership form so that you can keep your membership current. While there is no charge, membership will need to renewed annually.
Who can become a member? According to our bylaws, "Any person of the Jewish faith over 13 years of age and of good moral character shall be eligible for membership in the congregation."
What does it mean to be a member? Members who have returned their form by regular mail or online will be eligible to:
vote at Annual and Special Meetings to elect board members and officers and approve bylaws changes and other important matters,
serve on the board if age 18 years or older,
have clergy officiate at lifecycle events.
Our membership year is from July 1 to June 30, and each year you will have the opportunity to renew your membership in order to be eligible for these benefits. We also ask members to subscribe to our values: action, humility, place-based, courage to learn and have dialogue, kehila/abundance, diversity and inclusion, kindness and compassion, and integrating ritual and action.
How to give: We kindly ask you to make a meaningful contribution online. We are proud that our engaging programs, Shabbat services, High Holiday services, and holiday celebrations are free to all who participate.
Of course, while our programs and services are free, there is a cost for us to provide them. We therefore ask that you contribute financial support from your heart and at a level with which you are comfortable to help maintain our synagogue as a vital part of the greater Detroit Jewish community.
As per our by-laws, new membership applications are reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors. We look forward to being in touch with you.
We hope that this new model of a non-dues based membership structure will help to build our congregation into a community of belonging. We will continue to be here for you.