TERUMAH: Annual Voluntary Financial Commitment

 lulav time  

“Take from among you a gift (terumah) for Adonai; everyone

whose heart so moves him shall bring them.” Exodus 35:5



Terumah is the name of Temple Beth-El’s very popular approach to dues which began in 2012. In the Torah, terumah indicated a “free-will” offering, not a required one. Your terumah will be your annual voluntary financial commitment, pledged when you first join the congregation for that temple fiscal year (which begins each July 1st) and then each spring for the upcoming fiscal year.

Why a Terumah: Voluntary Financial Commitment?

We pride ourselves on removing barriers at Temple Beth-El as we welcome those of all backgrounds. Allowing members to set their own financial commitment opens the doors even wider to all, regardless of financial situation. Everyone may give as much as they are able and no one has to ask for reduced dues.

Terumah has no singles/family dues distinction. It is not based on how many in a household are active at temple, or how often they use it. It is based on how much one’s heart is moved to strengthen, celebrate and grow Jewish life at Temple Beth-El.

How does Beth-El fund its operating budget?
Our operating budget for the fiscal year is just over $440,000. About 40% is covered by fundraising, tuition and other income. That leaves about $255,000 to be funded by annual member support: Terumah.

Is there a Yom Kippur Appeal?
Yes. It is especially geared toward guests and non-members who join us at our free High Holy Day services. We prefer that our members include their Yom Kippur donation in their Terumah commitment, but we appreciate additional gifts from those who are moved to give an additional gift at the High Holy Days.

How should I determine my voluntary commitment?
•Give until it feels good.
•Please be realistic.
•Please be generous.

We trust that our members will take the time to understand the Temple’s financial needs. We trust that our members know their own capacity to give. 

For the fiscal year 2020-2021,  those who can give $2400 or more are strongly encouraged to do so. This figure is not an equal amount per household, but is based on our awareness of the range of our members’ resources and their past Terumah pledge levels. We anticipate achieving the full $255,000 if those who have the means give at or above the $2,400 level and if those who need to give less do so at a level that prioritizes Temple Beth-El so that we can remain financially stable and serve our community long into the future.

Can I change my Terumah from one year to the next?
Yes, each spring you will be asked to pledge in advance for the coming year and can adjust your gift in accordance with your financial well-being.

Who will know how much our household pledges?
Your confidential financial information is only accessible on a need to know basis to the rabbi, president, bookkeeper, financial secretary and treasurer.

How do I make my Terumah commitment?
If you are a current member, click here>>>.  For new members, when you fill out our online membership form, there is a page to indicate both the amount of your Terumah for this fiscal year and your preferred payment plan.

Will this annual pledge cover school tuition?
No. Tuition for the 2020-21 school year is $650 for one child and $590 each for additional children. Tuition is due at the start of the year. Families must be members in good standing to enroll their children in the school so make your Terumah pledge commitment first.

What if I have more questions?
You may always contact our president, Tom Rosensweet, at
tom@betheljc.org or leave a phone message for him at the office. He will be happy to speak with you. If you prefer, you may contact Rabbi Moritt.

What our members are saying about our TERUMAH program:

“Terumah made it so easy for me to join as a single person just out of college.”

“Giving extra through Terumah is my way of making sure no one is turned away from this congregation that has been my Jewish home forever.”

“Our family showed up looking for a baby-naming and Terumah meant there was no excuse not to join right away.”

“I am proud to belong to a temple on the cutting edge. Bold thinking is what we should be all about.”

“Beth-El has always been sensitive to my financial situation. Thanks for making me feel even more welcome by not having to request special arrangements.”

Have you already spoken with Rabbi Moritt about membership, and are ready to submit an application?  Please click here>>>.

If you are interested in membership, but have not met with Rabbi Moritt, she can be reached at RabbiMoritt@betheljc.org or at the temple office 201-333-4229.


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