Financial Considerations for the New Year

by L. Mark Stone, Treasurer

On the Revenue Side of Life…

By now our members will have received their financial commitment letter, asking them to renew Bet Ha’am membership.

Our president’s recent article explains the history of most congregations’ migration from dues, to “fair share,” to the mixed model we now use. But I thought it would be helpful to clarify the two components in the financial commitment letter that comprise our members’ annual giving to Bet Ha’am.

First, the annual financial commitment is what is used to cover essential overheads; it is what enables us to keep the lights on, pay staff, and provide essential services.  This is what used to be called “dues.”

Second, the annual fund commitment enables us to fund more programmatic activities. So, if we want to see the synagogue continue to support Family Promise and similar community outreach programs, if we want enhanced school activities, etc., we need to give generously to the annual fund–in addition to the annual financial commitment.

Putting it differently, if everyone of means (we never refuse membership due to financial constraints, not ever) paid their appropriate financial commitment, we wouldn’t be facing the projected $94K deficit for this fiscal year (it ends on June 30, 2021).

On a related note, we are still looking for potential members for, and ideas to be considered by, the close-the-budget-gap task force. Please send any suggestions to treasurer @

By the way, if you are revisiting your estate plan this year, you can easily make Bet Ha’am part of your planned giving by completing the estate gift letter of intent available here.

On the Expense Side of Life…

We have high expectations that virtually the entirety of our Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, granted as part of the CARES Act, will be forgiven. This will cement the surplus we reported for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, but still leave us with that projected $94K deficit for this fiscal year.

Our reopening task force recently presented to the board an incredibly well-researched set of guidelines for how to reopen the building, guidelines which the board unanimously approved. (To be clear, the board has not voted yet to open the building.)

To prepare for reopening the building in conformance with pikuah nefesh (saving a life) and sakanat nefeshot (endangering lives), we will need to incur additional expenses to improve the filtration in our HVAC system and tp provide for some of the physical protections you now see in stores when you go shopping: personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, some physical clear plastic barriers, and more frequent and intensive cleaning of the bathrooms and other common spaces.  All of these preparation activities will increase our costs, none of which are yet reflected in that $94K deficit projection.


This fiscal year for our community will not be a fat one. Your fiscal generosity in support of Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh (all Jews are responsible for one another) will help see us through.

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

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