Why a Synagogue can’t be underwritten like a Church
To whom it may concern:
Churches and Synagogues share many similarities structurally and organizationally, but they are also dissimilar in many ways.
I would like to address what’s different out of concern that if an underwriter looks at things that seem typical with churches, such as “official tithing policy”, “When are offerings collected”, and “giving units”; a typical Synagogue will not fit the mold.
While the subject Synagogue is a vibrant, busy, and self sustaining organization with hundreds of congregants coming morning, noon, and night for organized prayers and learning, their reach and their influence go well beyond their four walls and deep into our community and across country, and around the world.
The money raised from members is but a fraction of the money we receive. For example, whereas a member who comes 3 times a day, 7 days a week with 8 children may not even be able to scrape together enough money to pay full membership, the businessman praying next to him who is not a member, but visits once a year may make a donation of $10,000 as a thank you for the various services that the organization provides.
Jewish people tend to give lots of charity, oftentimes far in excess of 10%; but they don’t necessarily give exclusively to their synagogue. The typical congregant gives to no less than 10 worth causes, the Synagogue being just one of many. Fundraisers from organizations across the U.S., Europe, and the Holy Land come to the Synagogue to raise money from the congregants and the Synagogue actually facilitates it because this is who we are as a people.
A large amount of income comes from people who work in the area but live elsewhere so they come to the Synagogue during the week but don’t come for Sabbath. Typically these people aren’t members but they actually spend more time within our walls and donate more money than do members who attend on the Sabbath.
For a Jew, the Synagogue is more than just a place to pray and converse with friends. A Jew sheds many tears of sadness and joy as his entire life cycle plays out within synagogue life. The synagogue is representative in potential of what the Holy Temple once was and will be again, speedily in our days.
Thank you for your consideration,