I’m a member of every congregation I’ve ever been a member of.
Perhaps I should clarify that. I’m not a dues paying member. But I still consider myself part of those congregations.
Congregations are organizations that build relationships. We build relationships with the people in the congregations. We build relationships with the building and its history. Those relationships don’t just cleanly sever when we change where we are paying dues.
I think about everytime I receive an email blast from Temple Beth Hillel ($current_congregation-1). I think about this when I see a post on the facebook group of Temple Beth Torah ($current_congregation-2). I think about this when I read in the news about Kol Tikvah ($current_congregation-3). I think about this when Wilshire Blvd Temple ($current_congregation-7) sends me mail, or I see posts from alumni of Temple Israel of Westchester ($current_congregation-8).
Congregations need to understand this, but they often don’t. Once someone drops membership, they drop communication. TBT had it right — consider them alumni of your congregation. Keep them informed of what is happening by email. They may still donate; they may still attend an event. Who knows… they may even rejoin one day. That’s what we did. Our current congregation, Temple Ahavat Shalom, is not only $current_congregation, but $current_congregation-5.
[If you are curious, the missing congregation above is Temple Emet of Woodland Hills, which was $current_congregation-4 and $current_congregation-6. They merged into Kol Tikvah. We still view ourselves as part of Emet as well — I should check with some of the other Emet alumni to see if there is an Emet Alumni group.]
One Reply to “Does Membership end with the End of Membership?”
Yeah, I had a very angry divorce from my congregation over a speech the rabbi made and then the dismissive treatment my polite letter suggesting that we not DIRECTLY ADVOCATE SPECIFIC POLITICAL ACTION (“call your congressman and say X”) at a religious service, let alone at High Holidays when we rent space and invite all unaffiliate Jews, or Jews who can’t afford to pay for tickets at the other local congregations, to come worship with us.
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