FAQs – Congregational Commitment

Questions about our new Congregational Commitment model? We have answers!

Washington Hebrew is a welcoming community where people at all stages of life can celebrate, support, learn, and grow along life’s Jewish journey. We remain committed to meeting the needs of our community now and in the future. By adopting this new membership model, we can help current members maintain a lifelong connection at a support level of their choosing and make joining our sacred community more accessible for prospective members.

WHC has three primary membership categories: Members, Young Members, and Sustaining Members. We also offer Non-Resident Membership for those who have moved away from the D.C. area and Dual Membership for those who are affiliated with another house of worship.

Young Members are under 36 and do not have children enrolled in our Early Childhood Center or Religious School. It’s a membership category designed to help those who are just starting out be able to call WHC their spiritual home. Young Members under 30 have a $180 annual Congregational Commitment; for those between 30–35, the Congregational Commitment is $360.

Sustaining Membership, one of WHC’s three primary membership categories, is a demonstration of both an act of tzedakah and a reflection of faith in our shared Jewish future. Those who choose to become Sustaining Members make a yearly Congregational Commitment higher than our annual Member rate of $2,800. We offer six levels of Sustaining Membership, ranging from $3,600 to $25,000.

By “paying it forward,” Sustaining Members help current Members maintain a lifelong connection with our community and make membership accessible to all who wish to be part of our sacred congregation, regardless of financial circumstances. Our ability to achieve these goals depends on the philanthropy of congregants who choose to become Sustaining Members, and we are grateful for their strong commitment to Washington Hebrew.

If you pay less than $2,800 in our current fair share system, your Congregational Commitment (our term for your annual dues) will not go up now. We hope, as personal circumstances allow, that you will consider moving to the new yearly Member rate. As an inclusive community, we will work with anyone who is unable to afford the new Congregational Commitment.

We hope you will maintain your current level of support and become a Sustaining Member by making a Congregational Commitment similar to what you currently pay in fair share dues. For example, if your fair share dues are $4,960, you can be recognized as a Sustaining Member at the “Pillar” level with a Congregational Commitment of $5,000.

By choosing to become a Sustaining Member, your Congregational Commitment may not change much from where it currently is; however, the impact of your generosity will be felt by so many. All Sustaining Members will be recognized in various publications and on our website and will be invited to an annual special event thanking them for their commitment to making membership accessible for all.

We are committed to making membership accessible and do not want anyone to forgo being part of our community for financial reasons. If you are unable to pay for membership, we will work with you confidentially. Please contact Jennifer Millstone, Director of Member Engagement, at 202-895-6328 or jmillstone@whctemple.org to begin this conversation.

We invite long-time WHC members who relocate out of the DMV but want to stay connected and support the Temple to become Non-Resident Members with an annual Congregational Commitment of $360.

We offer Dual Membership for individuals, couples, and families who maintain membership in good standing with another congregation, regardless of faith or denomination. If you would like to learn about this option, please contact Jennifer Millstone, Director of Member Engagement, at jmillstone@whctemple.org or 202-895-6328.

Yes. The Lewis S. Wiener Annual Fund (formerly known as the Yad B’Yad Annual Fund) provides a dependable revenue stream for the Congregation’s operations and activities. The Annual Fund has become an increasingly important part of the WHC budget.

Congregational Commitments (annual member dues) support approximately 40% of our expenses. Once tuition and fees for the Early Childhood Centers and Religious School are factored in, 57% of WHC’s operating costs are covered. This leaves a gap of 43% of uncovered expenses that the Lewis S. Wiener Annual Fund helps to fill.

In addition to the Lewis S. Wiener Annual Fund, WHC funds its budget through endowments, facility rental fees, foundation grants, and the generosity of individual members who respond to special funding requests. While we continue to seek all these sources of support, the Annual Fund provides crucial unrestricted and flexible funds that support Temple operations and unanticipated needs such as an exciting, timely program or speaker.

Most importantly, the Lewis S. Wiener Annual Fund provides stability to our community and is funded by members of all income levels. Every gift— whether $18 or $18,000—is essential and emphasizes that the financial health of WHC is our shared responsibility.

Sustaining Members make a yearly Congregational Commitment above and beyond the $2,800 Member rate. Their generous commitment will make it possible for many families, young professionals just starting out, and seniors who may be on a fixed income to affiliate with WHC. The Lewis S. Wiener Annual Fund, as described above, supports WHC’s annual budget. It helps to pay for the 43% of expenses that are not met by Congregational Commitments, tuition, and fees. It also makes it possible for WHC to offer special programs and opportunities that arise during the year.

Yes. Washington Hebrew truly depends on both your Congregational Commitment (membership dues) and your donations to the Lewis S. Wiener Annual Fund. WHC is our shared community, and with your support, we can thrive! We ask that you fulfill your annual Congregational Commitment plus make an Annual Fund gift that is comfortable and meaningful to your family. We are grateful for your continued investment in our WHC community and future!

Yes. The Capital Pledge supports our Building Fund, which enables major facility upgrades and improvements that are not covered by the annual budget. The Capital Pledge for new Members age 36 and up is $5,000. Members can satisfy this over time, beginning with the second year of membership, by making minimum annual contributions of $500.

If you have been a member for five or more years, your Capital Pledge is considered complete. If you have a balance remaining, we ask you to continue your support for WHC by applying the remaining balance to Sustaining Membership or contributing to the Lewis S. Wiener Annual Fund. If you have been affiliated with WHC for less than five years, the payments you have made will be applied to the $5,000 Capital Pledge. If you have questions, please contact Jennifer Millstone at jmillstone@whctemple.org or 202-895-6328.

You can make your selection now by completing this short form.

We appreciate your prompt response! If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Jennifer Millstone at jmillstone@whctemple.org or 202-895-6328.

The Congregational Commitment category you select will go into effect on July 1, 2021, when the 2021-2022 fiscal year begins. We ask you to pay your 2021-2022 fiscal year statement (July 1, 2021—June 30, 2022) in full or enroll in one of our various payment plans by August 31, 2021.

We have answers! Stay tuned for further details about virtual Q&A’s where you can learn more from Temple leadership. You can also contact Jennifer Millstone, Director of Member Engagement, at jmillstone@whctemple.org or 202-895-6328. We are committed to helping you throughout this transition.

Ready to select your Congregational Commitment for the 2021-2022 fiscal year?

Selection Form

We are firmly committed to making membership available to everyone and do not want anyone to forgo membership solely for financial reasons. If you have a question about membership, please contact Jennifer Millstone, WHC’s Director of Member Engagement, for a confidential discussion.