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October 13, 2015 | 30th Tishrei 5776

High Holidays Appeal Talking Points for Congregational Leadership

Important points to consider in your appeal presentations.

Being a part of a synagogue community at the High Holidays often provides our members with a sense of comfort. Particularly this year, with wars continuing in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the threat of hurricanes once again dominating the evening news and newspaper headlines, and of course with economic uncertainty, our synagogues will continue to play an important role in the lives of our members.

As congregants are already feeling the impact of these challenging economic times, we hope that you will still see your High Holiday fundraising Appeal is an important opportunity. As congregational leaders, we need to do our best to insure the fiscal viability of our congregations during such challenging times. As our members feel most connected to our synagogue community during these Days of Awe, it is also a time when they have also been most generous in providing financial support.

Listed below are one or more important points to consider in your Appeal presentations:

  • Acknowledge the financial crisis and that there are those affected among the membership. Articulating the challenges we all face in a difficult economy creates a sense of community and can be a welcome reminder for congregants , even in challenging times, we have much for which to be thankful;
  • There are members of our congregations who might be experiencing little or no impact from the economic crisis. As our tradition teaches that we are all responsible for one another, ask those who are able can to give more than they might normally have given. Stress that the synagogue needs to always be there, particularly in these challenging times and that our collective action as part of this High Holiday Appeal will insure this;
  • The synagogue is a world in itself -- our extended Jewish family, our community of friends. It is a world small enough to allow each one of us to exercise a measure of influence, unlike the outside world, which sometimes seems to be spinning out of control. By supporting our synagogue, you can literally be the change you wish to see in the world.
  • The synagogue is the place we turn for solace during difficult times such as these. What a privilege it is to have the opportunity to do God's work by helping to ensure that those around us can find that solace. If we don't step up when our sacred community needs us, it won't be there for us when we need it.
  • There is unique satisfaction in seeing your charitable giving go to good, concrete use close to home. This money will help you, your family and your friends directly by keeping the synagogue community strong and vibrant. It will be used this year, not someday far in the future. It isn't going to disappear mysteriously from a balance sheet. It is an investment of pure love.
  • Contribute more to the High Holiday Appeal this year if you are in a position to do so, so that we can provide a welcoming and supportive to community to all current and potential members seeking Jewish communal identity here -- even if they are unable to pay full dues and have needed to ask for dues relief, perhaps for the first time in their lives. We rely on each other to share our strengths with those who are weaker at the moment. Members help each other and their community. Be a member and a mensch. Give more to the High Holiday Appeal if you can, so that those who cannot do so this year can still be encouraged to be part of this menschlich place.

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