by Michael Saxe-Taller
I am pleased to announce that for the first time since we moved into our building, Kehilla has surpassed 400 member households. We ended last year with 382 households, and by the end of this year, we expect to have increased by at least 20 member units.
Check out our membership numbers from the last five years:
|Membership Year||Number of Households|
As you can see, we have grown more than 10% over the past five years. This is important for several reasons. Membership growth is a key signpost that a synagogue community is healthy. In our case, our health is evident in our meaningful services, interesting programs, strong educational opportunities, numerous chances to act for justice, our engaged congregation, and the many people taking leadership. People hear about Kehilla or experience Kehilla and they can tell something is going on and they want to be part.
Membership growth also is the foundation of our financial stability. This year, our members will pay $500,000 in dues (over half our budget) as well as religious school and Bar/Bat Mitzvah program tuition. In addition, our members generously contribute close to $150,000 each year, as well. A growing membership will allow us to take care of our building, pay our staff generously, and offer more activities and programs. It will also allow us to continue to be able to make membership accessible to people of all levels of financial means.
Kehilla is clearly thriving. This year we have 45 new member households that are part of our community (as usual, about two dozen households did not renew because of moving or changing life circumstances). This 45 includes 10 households that returned to Kehilla after some time away, and 35 who are new to Kehilla membership. It includes families with children in religious school, families with newborns or toddlers, individuals and couples. There are people who are new to the East Bay or to the Bay Area as a whole, as well as those who have known Kehilla for a while and just this year decided to take on membership.
I have begun to get to know many of our new members and it is a marvelous crew of people. I encourage all of us to reach out and bring our newest folks in closer. If you see faces you don’t recognize, introduce yourself. Invite them to join you for events, actions or services or have them over for Shabbat dinner.
Let’s keep opening our doors wider and welcome more and more new members to expand and grow our community.