Please let me express my objection to “Time for Jews to lose the dues?” (January 18).
What is not understood by the Synagogue Leadership Initiative is that a synagogue is neither a club or a restaurant, it is a religious community. To eliminate mandatory dues or make it dependent on services rendered will do two things.
First, it will devalue the whole value of membership by making it free in many cases as people attach value in depending on how much they pay. Secondly, it eliminates individual responsibility for the operation of the community by shifting responsibility onto a few. People who legitimately cannot afford dues should not be excluded but members who can afford it should pay their dues.
Rather than attracting people who did not wish to pay their fare share, if synagogues wish to prosper in the 21st century, the emphasis need to be creating core members. In other words, getting the member you already have more involved in Jewish tradition and synagogue life. Having more core members is the most effective way of bringing in others.