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Do you pay a fee to go to services? - Page 3

post #41 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post




Heating and air-conditioning and having the lights on in that shul 365 days a year is also more expensive than in a church that meets 52 Sundays a year, along with the occasional event.

Expenses are higher right there.
I just wanted to clear up a misconception, many many churches actually do run 24/7 365 days a year. Many provide services to their community and the homeless, including free meals, shelter and resources. My aunt is the executive director of one such church.

As for the rest, the thought automatically seemed weird to me at the start of the thread, but as I read on, it started to make more sense. It would definitely be a big religious no no for our church, but we do ask for donations which is how we get by. Bottom line is, these places of worship do cost money to run so they have to find funds in various ways and keeping with the theme of religion, we shouldn't be too quick to judge harshly.
post #42 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joyster View Post
I just wanted to clear up a misconception, many many churches actually do run 24/7 365 days a year. Many provide services to their community and the homeless, including free meals, shelter and resources. My aunt is the executive director of one such church.



Point taken.

post #43 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
Given that the churches I attend have no pews, and perhaps a dozen chairs (if that, and most of them are donations), it really isn't a big expense *where I go*. Not saying it isn't elsewhere.

<snip>

Just on a final explanatory note - I can see how "pay to pray" may have come across poorly, and I did read the posts about those who still attended w/o being required to pay. Thing is, there are people (and I count myself among them) who simply wouldn't be comfortable with showing up w/o a ticket. I would stay home and pray there.
Judaism is a much different religion. And I think there are major and minor subtleties you (general you) may be missing.

In some shuls, people pay membership/dues/whatever it is called and with that they get their HH tickets. So it's part of your dues.

BUT, if you can't afford dues, then you can just buy the HH tickets, or speak to the Rabbi about another means of exchange.

Another thing is that there is usually only one service for each part. Places are packed BEYOND anything I ever saw in my C'ian upbringing. (And my parents are very religious C'ians.)

They need to have a head count. Make sure they can meet the fire code. Make sure there are enough seats. One year our little bitty shul actually had to have people wait outside the door b/c there wasn't enough room to meet fire code.

Yet another issue is safety. Tickets ensure that you are supposed to be there, that you aren't there to say, blow up a bomb. (Again I see churches with police officers to manage the traffic and parking. But it's not too common around here to see them actually checking people to see if they are supposed to be there.) Here Jewish schools have fences around them that could withstand the impact of a bomb. We have a police officer checking people's stickers to come into the school with their cars. We can't bring bags etc into certain events and walk through metal detectors.

While yes, you can find churches where these things are necessary, it isn't the majority. Whereas for almost every Jewish congregation I have been to, this is the NORM.

I do know that churches are open more often than merpk is representing....this is something maybe she doesn't know by virtue of never being C'ian. BUT. It remains that it is different use of facilities in many ways.

Primarily, the way our observance of holidays and Shabbat is structured, it requires a more intensive use of facilities.

For example: there isn't the option of turning off the lights or a/c or heating during these times b/c we can't mainipulate those things at all during holidays and Shabbat. Sure we can set timers, but at home if a light doesn't come on, it's not usually a big deal. In the shul---it might be a huge deal. Same with the a/c or the heating. People WALK all that way in the heat or cold. They need to be cool or warm inside.

I know at my parents very large United Methodist congregation that they have different buildings in use at different times, and they are able to constantly manipulate the "environment" so that they can save money---like the lights in the bathroom being on automatic detection or the water facets. Again, it's a more affluent community, so this makes a difference. None the less, it remains different.

If someone C'ian forgets to get enough grape juice/wine for communion, someone can go out and buy it.

If someone observantly Jewish forgets, then either you have to get it from someone's house and hope there is an eruv (a way to carry), or .... hope there is something else to make Kiddush over.

Yet another example: in a shul I was visiting once, there was a tzedakah (money for charity) box left on the bimah (the giant lecturn that opens up like a desk where we place the Torah to be read). This was on Shabbat, and the bimah cannot be used w/money sitting on it. Plus, we cannot MOVE money on Shabbat. So what to do? They had to find a way to do this so the service could start w/o breaking halacha.

Had this been at my parents church, anyone could have just picked it up and moved it. It would be a non-issue.

But b/c of different ways of observance, major and minor, this is a huge issue were it to happen in a synagogue.

So back to the issue of tickets for RH and YK. They just are part of the way Jews do things. It isn't wrong. And it isn't paying to pray. It IS different. But there is are several reasons. And no, I don't personally think it's easy to understand from an "outside the community" perspective. I remember being very very surprised myself when I learned this.
post #44 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penelope View Post
The first time I heard about this practice (years ago, from a neighbor who was converting) I was surprised. But IM [non-Jewish] opinion, it's not an entry fee, but a way of offering people opportunity to give. It's not organized exactly as it is in Christian congregations, but that doesn't make the practice somehow rude or offensive.
Thank you Penelope! This was exactly why I mentioned that people are able to write it off on their taxes (it's donation to a charity). ALSO, we are required to give a certain portion of our income to charity/tzedakah. This counts towards that. We also give extra tzedakah at various times through out the year.
post #45 of 63
Like I said - it's a different viewpoint. Just because *I* would be uncomfortable with a certain practice (and yes, I'm also uncomfortable with the idea of assessing each parishioner $X for a project - which is why I don't attend those types of parishes), doesn't mean the practice is wrong. Just that *I* happen to not agree with it.

Just to touch on a few points in recent posts. And I'm not picking them specifically for some reason - just the ones that I had a thought about that I can reply to quickly. Many of the "differences" aren't really all that different.

In our tradition, if there's no wine for communion, no someone can't just run out and buy more. Not at 9am on a Sunday! So you have to hope someone close enough by has some.

It's pretty standard in most of our Churches to have people outside on days like Christmas and Christmas Eve, Holy Friday, Easter Saturday, and so on. Because there is simply no more room inside. And when I say we're packed to the gills, I mean it - shoulder to shoulder, front to back. So we know from crowded!

We don't HAVE a/c - because it's too expensive. So we just don't have it. Yeah, it's hot - especially with candles burning and incense going. In winter, the heat is kept at a minimum - people wear coats. Again - it's too expensive. Yes, it physically COULD be turned up (as opposed to during Shabbat in a shul), but it realistically can't be. In a lot of our churches, people walk also. Not because they aren't permitted to drive, but because they don't have cars and public transport lets them off quite a ways away. At 75 or 80, or at 25 with a few little ones, a mile or two is a hefty walk, ya know? In the heat or the cold. And then to stand during a 1 /2 - 2 hour liturgy. Now, I'm in no way intimating that NO Orthodox churches have a/c or adequate heating - many do! The ones I've attended don't tend to, because I'm happier and more comfortable in the smaller and more intimate churches that tend not to be able to afford much in the way of amenities.

Again - I am NOT trying to say that one is better than the other, or that one is right and the other wrong. They are different. And that's okay.
post #46 of 63
A mile or two is a hefty walk? Huh. Where I grew up, orthodox Jews who lived within two miles of shul felt lucky to be that close. There's no choice in the matter, and that's a key difference. A volunteer could pick up an older parishoner or two for Sunday services at your church, but there is no yom tov rideshare program.

Yes, there are more and less affluent congregations, but we're not talking about rabbis who drive Lamborghinis and building renovations in the tens of millions here, either. The most affluent Jewish congregations I've seen give an awful lot of money (and time and energy) to tzedakah, and teach children to do the same from an early age. The most affluent Christian congregations I've seen are very different-- yes, there is charitable work that happens, but it's different in so many ways, and the wealthiest quarter of the population really doesn't give more, percentage-wise, than the middle half (there have been studies to demonstrate that this is true).

As a Christian, I'd probably feel put out being asked to pay for Christmas/Easter seats, because I'd feel like money was coming out of my pocket and into someone else's, but not necessarily to the congregation. Not all churches are ornately decorated, not all clergymen are driving around in obscenely expensive cars, but I've seen enough of that that I'd be skeptical.

I know that most religious congregations welcome people, whether or not they can pay to attend services, or for membership. I also know that I've been to visit churches where they were pressuring me or the person who brought me as soon as we walked through the door to "sign up for this class" or "pay X to join this group." I've never, ever, EVER had or heard of that sort of thing happening in a Jewish congregation of any sort. Never.
post #47 of 63
I can see how you feel about the paying to pray thing. My mom is a non-observant Jew who goes twice a year out of respect to tradition, as well as to see and be seen. She resents paying for tickets, so she goes to Chabad. When we were little, she paid membership to a Reform/Conservative shul, so we could go to Hebrew school, so it was included.

Our synagogue (in Jerusalem) is packed for the high holidays (it's the only time we advertise) but members generally come early and sit close, twice - a -yearers sit closer to the door and come late. (We pray in a high school, so minimal expenses). The only time we charge is Purim (when it is permitted to carry money, and encouraged to give extra to charity) and we get a large turnout of families on that day.

I would think that Rosh Hashana 2nd day would be much less filled, as well as Yom Kippur afternoon. I wouldn't imagine anyone would care if you showed up then.

Also, all 52 Shabbats are free! As are Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Purim, Passover, Shavuot....

Honestly, I prefer Friday night services over Yom Kippur services anyway, and the oneg (cake & snacks afterwards) sure is more fun then!! (*no eating on Yom Kippur*).
post #48 of 63
Interesting note for anyone in Central PA - our congregation received a large grant and will not be charging for seats for HH services from now on! We do ask that you call ahead so we can get numbers for our janitor. You can come hear me sing!
post #49 of 63
I dosn'
t seem like such a big deal now that I see this is just how it is done. I suppose it is not shocking at all to people who have grown up in that environment and see it as "everyday" just as I see taing the offering as an every day sort of thing.

I attend an Orthodox church now and the whole parish dues thing was deeply disturbing and shocking to me. I had never been to a church hat expectedyou to commit to a sum and then checked up on you!! You canot be a godparent or vote in parish council elections unles you have kept yoru commitment (at our parish we set our own commitments but some actually tell you what your share is) But now it is very rational and makes perfect sense to me. because it is more everyday.
post #50 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
Thing is, there are people (and I count myself among them) who simply wouldn't be comfortable with showing up w/o a ticket. I would stay home and pray there.
Exactly. That is how I feel and why I have not attended the services at the Chabad. If it was a big priority to me, I would come up with the money for the tickets. But it is not such a priority to me that I would scrimp elsewhere in order to pay for high holy day tickets. And I feel it would be deceptive for me to say I could not afford them because I could if I wanted to, but that is not how I chose to spend my money.

[QUOTE=merpk;11963653
I'm very sensitive about this. The whole "cheap Jew" thing ...[/QUOTE]
I totally understand that.
I also often get the kind of backwards comments where people don't really think they are being rude, but they are - comments like "you should do well in business since you are Jewish" or things like that.


I looked at the article and was thinking about it and actually, one of the things that I love about the Jewish culture is that generosity is built in to the culture. It is biblical although I did not know that growing up. When I was growing up we were poor in comparrison to most of the Jewish community. But, we were always well taken care of.
I don't know if my parents paid dues at the synagogue or not, but I am sure that they did when they could.
Jewish people take care of one another.
If Jewish people are in need, others will help out.
That is just how it was when I was growing up.
I was shocked when I grew up to find out that not all people are like that.
post #51 of 63
Quote:
I looked at the article and was thinking about it and actually, one of the things that I love about the Jewish culture is that generosity is built in to the culture. It is biblical although I did not know that growing up. When I was growing up we were poor in comparrison to most of the Jewish community. But, we were always well taken care of.
I don't know if my parents paid dues at the synagogue or not, but I am sure that they did when they could.
Jewish people take care of one another.
If Jewish people are in need, others will help out.
That is just how it was when I was growing up.
I was shocked when I grew up to find out that not all people are like that.
It helps when you're part of an often-persecuted-against minority. You've hit on one of the big reasons why I felt the need to become Jewish, though.

: <-- Jewish love
post #52 of 63
I wanted to chime in with my thoughts.

Every house of worship has costs associated with its physical plant and management. Every house of worship must find a way to pay for the items that need to be paid for (rent/mortgage, salaries of clergy, heat/AC, food for celebretory events, etc.) how the house of worship collects the money varies by congregation, denomination and religion in a way that works for its parishioners and within the context of its religious dictates.

Traditionally Jews don't handle money on the sabbath and holidays, the times of week/year when there is typically a large attendance at services. This means collections plates cannot be passed. Dues, paid during the work week are a means of getting around that limitation. Typically, with your dues you are given a set number of seats for the big holiday services, although depending on the synagogue you might also be able to purchase seats without becoming a member.

Without a doubt, no synangogue will turn someone away for not being able to pay. It is appropriate to make arrangements with the synangogue before hand if this is the case.

Now, membership comes with more than just the seats for high holidays. If there is a religious school (Sunday or weekday) membership gains you the chance to enroll your child/ren. Also, you can participate in Brotherhood/Sisterhood/Youth/etc. events that are created for the membership fo the synangogue. Remember, the house of worship is a congregation, a collection of people who come together to worship/learn/celebrate/etc with each other. They are creating a community, one with benefits for the community members. While it is wonderful to do for the outside world (and this is something that is important in Judaism and usually a big part of any congregation) the community is primarily an outlet for its members, and services (both religious and other types) are for the members. Part of membership is contributing to upkeep and maintenance, hence back to dues.

Now, I will say usually dues are expensive, espcially in places with a higher cost of living, but if you broke it up to a monthly or weekly bill it might seem more palatable. I also think that the idea of a collection plate seems like a dues system but on a smaller/more regular scale. if you come to services regularly and are giving money each week, you are essentially paying dues.

Finally, one last thought, some Christian houses of worship have the ability to limit financial burdens from their members because they have large umbrella organizations that pay for some things, I'm thinking specifically of the RCC which owns diocesse property and pays for the living expences of many clergy members.

Abby
post #53 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
In our tradition, if there's no wine for communion, no someone can't just run out and buy more. Not at 9am on a Sunday! So you have to hope someone close enough by has some.
.
Or you could be southern Baptist, and just run out to buy some Welch's.

The tradition in which we are comfortable very much clouds how we see the world.
post #54 of 63
I've been living in this community for 3 years.

The first year, we'd been coming every week on Shabbos but I couldn't afford to pay for a High Holiday seat, and I didn't know if there'd be room for us, etc, and we didn't go for the first day of Rosh Hashonna. That afternoon, a friend in the congregation walked over to tell me that the rebetzin (rabbi's wife) was worried about us, why didn't we come to services? So the following day we came to shul- squeezing in next to my friend who'd reserved seats for all her children who didn't actually sit.

The rabbi and his family know our family and our financial situation. They know we don't have much to give, and that I'm not physically capable of volunteering. But we do what we can. My 13yo helps set up the kiddush (snack offered after services; named after the blessing over wine that precedes it) almost every week; my 12yo often helps as well. They've helped out with setting up and cleaning up from other activities the shul occasionally does during the week. We're very much a part of the congregation. I don't know if there are any official membership dues "charged" to other members, or if each family independently donates however much they can afford without being asked- I just know that we personally have never been asked to pay anything that we can't afford.

Last year, when the High Holiday seating arrangement came out, there were 3 seats in the Ladies' section with my name on them. I didn't pay for them, although I know that the vast majority of the seats were accompanied by a donation to the shul. I assume the same will happen this year and every year that we live here.

This is also a Chabbad shul. I know that somebody mentioned Chabbad earlier in this thread- about how the sign listed a price for seats and then "nobody will be turned away for inability to pay" in small print. They do it that way so that those who can pay, will pay, and to minimize "thoughtless freeloading" by those who actually are in a position to offer financial support.

But they're not going to ask for a pile of tax forms- if you say you can't pay, they'll let you come anyway, especially when you're brand new and they might push you away if they make things too hard for you. Now, if you start coming regularly, and see signs that you're not as poor as you claim to be, I'm sure they'll call you on it (but discreetly, so as not to embarrass you.)
post #55 of 63
Doesn't seem too different then a church with a strong adherance to tithing.
Churches cost a lot to run.
post #56 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abby View Post
I wanted to chime in with my thoughts.

Every house of worship has costs associated with its physical plant and management. Every house of worship must find a way to pay for the items that need to be paid for (rent/mortgage, salaries of clergy, heat/AC, food for celebretory events, etc.) how the house of worship collects the money varies by congregation, denomination and religion in a way that works for its parishioners and within the context of its religious dictates.

Traditionally Jews don't handle money on the sabbath and holidays, the times of week/year when there is typically a large attendance at services. This means collections plates cannot be passed. Dues, paid during the work week are a means of getting around that limitation. Typically, with your dues you are given a set number of seats for the big holiday services, although depending on the synagogue you might also be able to purchase seats without becoming a member.

Without a doubt, no synangogue will turn someone away for not being able to pay. It is appropriate to make arrangements with the synangogue before hand if this is the case.

Now, membership comes with more than just the seats for high holidays. If there is a religious school (Sunday or weekday) membership gains you the chance to enroll your child/ren. Also, you can participate in Brotherhood/Sisterhood/Youth/etc. events that are created for the membership fo the synangogue. Remember, the house of worship is a congregation, a collection of people who come together to worship/learn/celebrate/etc with each other. They are creating a community, one with benefits for the community members. While it is wonderful to do for the outside world (and this is something that is important in Judaism and usually a big part of any congregation) the community is primarily an outlet for its members, and services (both religious and other types) are for the members. Part of membership is contributing to upkeep and maintenance, hence back to dues.

Now, I will say usually dues are expensive, espcially in places with a higher cost of living, but if you broke it up to a monthly or weekly bill it might seem more palatable. I also think that the idea of a collection plate seems like a dues system but on a smaller/more regular scale. if you come to services regularly and are giving money each week, you are essentially paying dues.

Finally, one last thought, some Christian houses of worship have the ability to limit financial burdens from their members because they have large umbrella organizations that pay for some things, I'm thinking specifically of the RCC which owns diocesse property and pays for the living expences of many clergy members.

Abby
Good points, all around!
post #57 of 63
Ruthla that was a really nice story. It sounds like the people at your shul make an effort to include everyone with very little fuss. That's what a community should be like. Wonderful.
post #58 of 63
previiously answered, i missed it the 1st time through
post #59 of 63
Hey kama!
post #60 of 63
This is how it was when I was growing up:

Quote:
Originally Posted by christianmomof3 View Post
Jewish people take care of one another.
PEOPLE take care of one another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by christianmomof3 View Post
If Jewish people are in need, others will help out.
If PEOPLE are in need, others will help out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by christianmomof3 View Post
That is just how it was when I was growing up.

That's how it was when I was growing up. How you worshiped didn't matter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by christianmomof3 View Post
I was shocked when I grew up to find out that not all people are like that.
I guess I'm now shocked to find out that no, not all people are like that. Because where I come from... people ARE like that. Jewish, Christian, Moslem, or other.
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