I have written in recent weeks that I will be sending out information on membership costs for our 'Lerhaus Newshul' and for our classes and gatherings (both real and virtual) for the coming year.
It has been difficult for me to put these figures in print because so many things have changed during the course of the year and in response, we have had to repeatedly shift course and make scheduling and fiscal changes in response to the situations we often just cannot foresee. We saw this most dramatically with the spread of COVID 19 and the ensuing crash of just about everything we had originally planned and scheduled for in this immediate past 7 months.
During this immediate past year, all of our Mitzvah events and gatherings, along with all of our 'in-person' classes (not to mention the adults as well) were either cancelled or delayed for a later time in which all of us would feel safe again. Much to my surprise, our Zoom classes did pick up and became for many of us a safe meeting ground for all types of discussions -- many of which were very enlightening and quite helpful. Even some of our weddings were held over Zoom! And sadly, some of our funerals and Shivas were as well.
My Personal and Pastoral counseling sessions seemed to hold steady, and while the jury is still out, it appears that virtual counseling is here to stay. From all indications, this will hold steady even when everything clears and we begin to meet again after the pandemic subsides.
In reviewing our costs and our budget, we have come up with a plan for funding that will help us to sustain 'Lerhaus Newshul' going forward in the coming year and beyond. We are hoping that our budget will also allow us to expand our services at a higher quality, with a renewed spirit and with a sincere menschlichkeit (which is a Jewish mark of an distinction).
While these below are the levels of giving that we propose, they are also flexible and we are happy to discuss these levels on a more personal basis at any time you would feel comfortable in doing so. I should note, everyone is welcome to be with us for everything and no one will ever feel turned away. I am keenly aware that at another time in Jewish history, (yes Jewish history), there is a story of Joseph and Mary coming to Bethlehem for the census called by Herod, who considered himself to be the King of the Jews. When arriving in Bethlehem there was no room at the Inn and a stable was offered instead. Well, we all know how that situation played out, so I would just like to say, there's always room for everyone at our house (our 'Lerhaus Newshul'), regardless of one's ability to pay for it.
After a lot of soul searching and ensuring what we will offer, we are proposing the following levels. All of these monies are covered under the 5013c Federal and State Non Profit regulations and they are considered Tax deductible contributions for those purposes as provided for by law. Additionally, our expenditures and monies are monitored by our Treasurer, Phil Goodman, CPA of Shubert Goodman and Huttner LLP, a nationally respected accounting firm, located in Jenkintown, PA.Rabbi Seth Frisch / מהרש’’ף
1) Sustaining ‘Membership’ or ‘Partnership’
Cost: $1,200/year (or $100/month)
This membership includes:
- Our Weekly Torah Seminars (Wednesday & Sundays)
- Our New Back to Basics Sessions
- Individualized sessions
- All of our group gatherings
Donations are collected responsibly and can be dispersed monthly by PayPal (at $100/month, with no fees involved). These dollars are used towards payroll and vendor expenditures, administrative support and coordination, rent, electricity, internet, Zoom costs, Lerhaus Newshul contributions to Regional Food Distribution (i.e. for those who cannot afford food we work at collecting and distributing), and truthfully, much more, especially in our outreach to the community which goes well beyond the borders of neighborhood, religion and race.
2) Friends of Lerhaus Newshul ‘Partnership’
$540/year (or $48/month)
This includes everything except for the individual sessions, but they can be added, especially since very few of us are able to clearly foresee those times that these services become ever more pressing.
Additionally, it should be noted that these monies are used for the same important purposes as those of Membership and Friendship noted above.
3) Special “One-Time” Donations
This includes donations for any-and-all of the good things of life, like birthdays and family celebrations, such as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. These types of donations are customary in commemoration of sad moments, such as anniversaries of a loved one’s passing (Yahrzeits).
It is not uncommon for people to donate multiples of $18 to note these moments in our lives or for lifecycle events of our friends and family.
If you have any questions, please call or write and let’s set up time to talk. If you know someone who might be interested in what we are doing and what we hope to do, please let me know and I will be glad to reach out to them.
All are always welcome, and that would be from any nationality, any religion, or any creed.
Rabbi Seth Frisch