Our sages wrote, Ein kemach, ein Torah, “Without bread, there is no Torah.” They recognized that without meeting the basic financial needs of the kehilla kedosha, or holy community, there could be no Judaism. We have inherited and sustained an amazing Beit Tefillah (House of Worship), a Beit Midrash (House of Study) and a Beit K’nesset (House of Assembly & Community) here in Burlington.
In 2011 Ohavi Zedek implemented a new structure for raising the necessary funds to sustain our community. At OZ, we believe that dues and finances should never be a barrier to anyone who wants to be a member of our community and that your family knows the value of your membership here better than we do. Our financial model enables more people to affiliate with our community. You and your family decide at what level you are able to invest in our Jewish community. We don’t purchase synagogue membership with dues any longer, at least not here at OZ; we each choose to belong as members and partners in community, and we each pledge support according to our belief in the organization and its mission.
At Ohavi Zedek you are asked to set your own Annual Membership Support Pledge based on your ability to contribute rather than a fixed dues schedule. It is suggested that each family pledge 3% of your gross household income, but we ask that you study your own situation and make a personal decision about how much to pledge based on an honest self-assessment of your family’s financial means and priorities. We do not ask for income verification or disclosure or abatements; we trust each family to do what they are able.
For some families, 3% may be beyond your current means and that is ok. Some families may be able to contribute more than 3%. The beauty of our system is that each family chooses the amount each year that meets our own financial capacity to give. We are a community in the truest sense; we rely upon one another to help support those with more difficult financial situations due to reduced income or lost jobs in this challenging economy. In this way we ensure that each family makes a fair contribution and takes an equal stake in supporting our community. This is the essence of tzedakah – righteousness and justice – as our tradition teaches it, honoring the Torah’s command to give according to our means.
On your annual membership support pledge form, please designate the level of support you are prepared to make to sustain Ohavi Zedek. You will be invoiced for that amount. It’s that simple.
Feel free to contact our Executive Director, Grace Oedel if you have any questions, 802-864-0218 x 25. Membership support pledges are held in the strictest confidence, only members of the office staff who process payments have access to this information.