Anshe Tikvah
P.o. Box 2455
Northbrook, IL 60065
847-917-7726

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is your contact information?
Q. Where are services held?
Q.
Why is the dues structure at Anshe Tikvah so different?
Q. I can’t afford the high cost of organized Judaism.  Can I still be a member of Anshe Tikvah?
Q. I don’t understand why when a synagogue membership increases, my dues don’t decrease?
Q. Why isn’t there a membership based on how often I use the synagogue?
Q. I have never been to a Jewish worship service before.  What are some of the basics I should know?
Q. What is the decorum at Anshe Tikvah worship services?
Q. What is Shabbat Camp Casual?
Q. Do you allow children to attend worship services?
Q. What should I do if my child begins crying during the worship service?
Q. I want to attend worship as a family, what can I do to help my family make it through a service?

Mailing Address: 

Anshe Tikvah
P.O. Box 2455
Northbrook, IL 60065-2455

Synagogue Office (Ros Wolfe): 847-917-7726 Ros@anshetikvah.org

Cantor Rob Jury: 847-917-7725 robjury@anshetikvah.org
Religious School: (Fraya Feferman) 847-828-0280 fraya@anshetikvah.org

Religious School & Shabbat Evening Service Address:

Alcott Center
530 Bernard
Buffalo Grove, IL

Beit K'nesset
214 University Drive, Arlington Heights, IL

Synagogue Dues

Q. Why is the dues structure at Anshe Tikvah so different?

Each of us has a stake in maintaining the synagogue as a place in which Judaism is fostered and maintained. The members of Anshe Tikvah are people who, of their own free will, have joined together to maintain a Jewish congregation as a house of worship, a house of learning and a house of assembly. Our temple has become our social as well as spiritual meeting place and has replaced the neighborhood as the place in which community is created.  

Ernest G. Freudenthal once said, “There comes a time in the history of an institution when those who love it, those who depend upon it, and, yes, even those who only occasionally use it must face the facts of its needs and provide for them.”  He reasoned that if you have faith in your members, trust their judgment, give them plenty of information, and have them search their souls, they will support the congregation.

If we are to be realistic, we must acknowledge that regardless of the type of financial support system utilized, members contribute to a congregation to the extent that they believe is appropriate.  Therefore, it is critical that we all become educated regarding our obligation to support the temple. Ideally, each of our members would give to the best of his/her ability and not be asked for a fixed amount. But because a temple is also an institution with financial needs, it is essential to require a specific commitment from each member so that budgets can be created and planning can be done. 

Our members are encouraged to contribute according to their financial ability. That is the essence of tzedakah––justice and righteousness––as our tradition teaches it.

It is our plan that Anshe Tikvah remains a religious institution that practices the teachings of religion.  No one, regardless of monetary possessions, is turned away.  If someone comes to our Temple Administrator and expresses a desire to join our Congregation, that person is never exposed to embarrassment or humiliation.  That person is treated with dignity and respect--and enrolled in our temple membership. 

Such a plan also requires that those who are financially able assume, at the very least, the full cost of membership, and that those of greater means contribute even more than the cost of membership.  Nevertheless, dues to the Temple are not a voluntary charity; rather they are payments by all of us for a service to all of us and should fall within the established guidelines.

We must find better ways to educate our congregation regarding the economic realities faced by Anshe Tikvah as we strive to provide the multitude and quality of services that our members expect and deserve.

Only then can we all understand that synagogue membership is worthy of being a major recipient of our charitable and philanthropic giving because only the temple teaches and inspires Jews to manifest the ideals that are central to all other Jewish institutional endeavors.

Our dues structure is a temple-wide and ongoing effort in the best tradition of our Jewish teachings, “we are all responsible for one another.”  At Anshe Tikvah there are no additional fees for Religious School, Life Cycle Events, High Holiday Tickets or Study Groups.

Through the fulfillment of your half-shekel and gift giving, you are making an annual commitment to support the vision, mission and goals of Anshe Tikvah.

We bear this in mind when we read Exodus 30:13-15, “This is what every one who is entered in the records shall pay: a half-shekel by the sanctuary weight… everyone who is entered into the records…shall give Adonai’s offering: the rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than half a shekel;” therefore, Anshe Tikvah asks for a half-shekel from every member family in the amount of $1800.

However, the building of Tabernacle was not limited to the half-shekel for we are taught in Deuteronomy 16:17 that, “every person shall give as you are able according to the blessing of Adonai, your God, which Adonai has given you.”
In this light, Anshe Tikvah asks that you search your heart and your soul as you make your terumah gift. As a general guide, we suggest the following:

Your gross family income Terumah gift
$25,000 to $50,000 .5%,
$50,000 to $75,000 1 %,
$75,000 to $100,000 1.5%,
$100,000 to $150,000 2 %,
$150,000 to $175,000 2.5%
over $175,000 3% of their annual gross income.

Special financial arrangements will always be available to those who need them; and you may be assured that all financial matters are held in the strictest of confidence by the temple.

As Maimonides taught in his stages of tzedakah: It is good to give, better to give with a giving heart, better still to give after being asked, and even better to give before being asked. A synagogue is much more than a membership organization: it is a congregational home.

Q. I can’t afford the high cost of organized Judaism.  I am out of work/battling long-term illness/recently lost my job/new to the country and just starting out in the United States/trying to get back on my feet, can I still be a member of Anshe Tikvah?

A. Yes. 

Anshe Tikvah does not turn away anybody because they are unable to pay.  The challenge for synagogues has always been finding a way to accommodate those who are legitimately unable to pay full dues to the synagogue (as opposed to those who are unwilling to pay full dues to the synagogue) that treats people with the respect that someone who is created in the image of God deserves. 

At Anshe Tikvah, we do not have a committee to which you make your case by presenting tax returns and other financial documents.  Instead, we ask that if you are interested in being part of our community and are unable to pay full dues that you contact our administrator and speak with her privately and directly to make arrangements that work for you and the synagogue.

Q. I’m a business person.  I don’t understand why when synagogue membership increases, my dues don’t decrease?

There are two things we need to understand to answer this question:  First, synagogues, like almost all non-profit institutions, in addition to dues, rely on fundraising, special donations, and endowments to operate on budget.  That being said, dues almost never cover 100% of the operating budget of a synagogue.

In order for increased membership to have a direct supply-demand impact on dues, the synagogue needs to gain more members every year than the budgeted fundraising/special donations and endowment funds.  The challenge in this is that in the rare cases when membership increases do represent the total funds budgeted for fundraising, the synagogue almost always decides to invest in strengthening its infrastructure to secure long-term health.

Perhaps a better way to understand synagogue membership is to think of yourself as a holder of stock in the congregation, rather than a consumer.  The price of the stock does not go down because there are more investors.  There is one major difference however; the synagogue always pays out dividends.  You receive your dividend when someone is sick and the community rallies in support with food, prayers, visits, car-rides to the doctor, cards, phone-calls and help.  You receive your dividend when a child makes the connection between the ancestors in the Avot and his or her own parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, becoming excited about family history and keeping the memory of his or her ancestors alive.  You receive your dividend when a Jewish person first travels to Israel, reconnecting with 3000 years of Jewish history, culture and perseverance.  And you receive your dividends as we sing Am Yisrael Chai (the people of Israel lives) for who but the Jews are going to support the Jewish people.

Q. I don’t use the synagogue that often.  Why isn’t there a membership based on how often I use the synagogue?

This is an excellent question.  It assumes that synagogues are a) in the service industry and that b) members of synagogues are paying a fee for service. 

The first challenge is that synagogues are not in the service industry.  If we use a business analogy, synagogues are actually in the business of producing Jews.  Our products, so to speak, are Jews who live Jewish lives.  Like most businesses, we produce several models of Jews.  We have Jews who live Jewish lives by connecting with Jewish culture and food.  We have Jews who live Jewish lives by working to repair the world through social action and social justice.  And we have our classic model which makes up the core of our industry, Jews who live Jewish lives by worshiping as a community, celebrating life cycle events as a community and studying Torah together as a community.

It is true that you don’t have to belong to a synagogue in order to produce Jews.  This is true in the same way that it is true that there are some people who don’t have to buy a car that was produced by a car company.  These people are able to build a car from the ground up without any need of car manufacturers.  However, most of us not only prefer, but need to buy cars produced by car companies.  In this same way, most of us prefer and need to live our lives as Jews with some connection to the Jewish people which is easiest done at a synagogue. 

Our second challenge assumes that synagogues are in the service industry and that we should pay a fee for service much like when we go to the doctor’s office.  However, if we are to say that synagogues are in the service industry, then we need to understand that synagogues are much more like health clubs than doctor’s offices.  The health club charges a fee for service regardless of how often you use the service.  There is an old joke about the man who goes to the health club and is offered membership at two levels, the basic and the gold.  The man asks the clerk to explain the difference between the two levels and the clerk replies that the difference is $10,000.  The man asks what amazing amenities will he receive for the additional $10,000 and the clerk answers that after paying an additional $10,000 the man will almost certainly come regularly to the health club because after spending that kind of money he will feel compelled to make use of his membership.  Oy! 

The truth of the joke aside, the synagogue as an institution was not built to exist as a fee for service enterprise.  It is in the manufacturing industry and members of the congregation are more akin to stock-holders than consumers.  The price of the stock does not go down because there are more investors.  There is one major difference however.  The synagogue only pays out dividends.  You receive your dividend when someone is sick and the community rallies in support with food, prayers, visits, car-rides to the doctor, cards, phone-calls and help.  You receive your dividend when a child makes the connection between the ancestors in the Avot and his or her own parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, becoming excited about family history and keeping the memory of his or her ancestors alive.  You receive your dividend when a Jewish person first travels to Israel reconnecting with 3000 years of Jewish history, culture and perseverance.  And you receive your dividends as we sing Am Yisrael Chai" (the people of Israel live) for who but the Jews are going to support the Jewish people.

Decorum and Traditions

Q. I have never been to a Jewish worship service before.  What are some of the basics I should know?

The decorum at a Jewish worship service is similar to most houses of worship.  Please turn off your cell phones and pagers before entering the sanctuary.  Please don’t enter or exit the sanctuary while the congregation is standing or during the D’var Torah (sermon).  Please don’t take pictures during the worship service. 

Most sanctuaries provide kippot (ritual head coverings) outside of the sanctuary door.  It is appropriate for men to put on a kippah to show respect when entering the sanctuary.  In many Reform settings the kippah is optional.  In most other Jewish settings it is mandatory.  

As a general rule, Jews don’t applaud during a worship service.  When someone does something well or you want to show respect or appreciation for Torah well chanted or for a great D’var Torah, we call out Yashar Koach” which means "You should go towards more strength".  The traditional response to Yashar Koach is Baruch T’hiyeh” which means "Blessed will it be".  However, Sephardim (those descended from Spain, Portugal and the Middle East) traditionally respond Chazak u’varuch which means "Strength and blessing". 

The most important thing to remember is that, as a part of the congregation worshiping, you are free to participate in responsive readings, singing, and rhythmic clapping.  God says to the people Israel in the Torah “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people” and this means you, too.  If you are not familiar with the words, please hum along and participate.

Q. What is the decorum at Anshe Tikvah worship services?

Anshe Tikvah worship services are Shabbat Camp Casual.  We believe in the sanctity of Shabbat and look for ways to mark Shabbat as special and different from the rest of the week.  We encourage those who attend worship services to come dressed appropriately for the sanctuary.  Shabbat Camp Casual is acceptable, although some of our “regulars” do wear a jacket and tie. 

Anshe Tikvah also honors the centuries old tradition of giving tzedakah (charity) before entering the sanctuary.  To that end, there is a tzedakah box outside of the sanctuary doors and we encourage all worshipers to add this custom to their personal spiritual practice. 

Q. What is Shabbat Camp Casual?

Every year when we send our kids off to camp, their packing list includes clothes appropriate for Shabbat.  Below are examples from several of the Summer Camps.  At Anshe Tikvah, we feel if it is appropriate for Shabbat at Camp it is appropriate for Shabbat at home.

           Camp Chi: “GUYS - Shabbat clothes are nice pants (no jeans) and nice shirt – something        different than what is worn during the week.  A sweater is also acceptable.”

                           “GIRLS - Shabbat clothes are dresses or skirts/nice pants (no jeans) with a nice top for both Friday evening and Shabbat morning.  Extremely short skirts are not acceptable.”

           Camp Beber: “Shabbat Outfits”

     O.S.R.U.I.:   “For boys - pair of slacks or nice shorts and a nice shirt." 
                          “For girls - skirt/blouse or dress”

Q. Do you allow children to attend worship services?

  YES.  We encourage families to worship together.  Worshiping with ones parents is a formative experience in the life of every Jew.  We strongly encourage families of all ages to worship together.  Parents, please be considerate of other worshipers and sit with your children.

Q. What should I do if my child begins crying during the worship service?

  This is normal and is bound to happen to every parent at some time or another.  Worship can be an overwhelming experience for some children.  If your child is becoming overwhelmed during the service, please feel free to take him or her outside of the sanctuary and offer words of comfort and hugs.  When your child has calmed and is comfortable returning to the sanctuary, you should come back in together. 

  Although there are general rules of decorum, if you need to leave suddenly with your child to provide comfort or to take care of his or her immediate needs, as a parent you are free to do so.  Taking care of the immediate needs of your young child comes first and we promise, the congregation and God will understand. 

Q. I want to attend worship as a family, but I am concerned that my child will not be able to sit through an entire service, what can I do to help my family make it through a service?

At Anshe Tikvah we understand that worship services are at times longer than the attention span of the children.  To this end, we provide some materials that children are encouraged to enjoy during the service when their attention needs to be redirected.  These materials include Shabbat books and quiet Shabbat toys.  We strongly discourage children from playing with electronic toys during the service.  This includes Gameboys, iPods, CD players, portable TVs and other electronic items.

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