Frequently Asked Questions
How do I join?
We welcome everyone who chooses to join our Temple family. The most efficient way to join is to e-mail your completed Membership Application to firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, call the Temple office and set a time to meet us or stop by and say “hello!”
How often do you have services?
Kabbalat Shabbat worship is held each Friday evening beginning at 7:00 pm. Each month we also offer Mini Minyan and teen-led (First Fridays) worship experiences. Please check the calendar on this website for this month’s schedule.
Study of the weekly Torah portion is held at 9:00 am on Saturday mornings, immediately prior to Shabbat Morning worship which begins promptly at 10:30 am. Often a young person becomes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah during the Saturday morning service.
Festival worship is held at 10:30 a.m. for each holiday. Yizkor, the memorial prayers, are included in the worship service on Yom Kippur and the last days of Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot.
How many clergy members do you have?
Five – Our Senior Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar, our Cantor Carrie Barry, and three Adjunct Rabbis: Rabbi Robert Goodman, Rabbi Fred Raskind and Rabbi Sylvin Wolf.
How many members comprise Congregation Ahavath Chesed?
The Temple family includes about 600 households. We welcome singles of all ages, single-parent and two-parent families, blended families and empty-nesters. The Temple family includes Jews, those who love Jews and those who are loved by Jews. Everyone is welcome at Temple!
What do I get for my dues?
- When you join our Temple family, you join a sacred community. Your Temple family rejoices with you as we celebrate lifecycle events and provides support and care when you are facing difficulties.
- When creating a Passover seder for the entire family is just too much work, we welcome the entire family to join us at our annual Congregational seder, where everyone sits at the same table….no children’s table at The Temple!
- Rabbi Bahar prepares our families and participates in your lifecycle events, baby namings for girls and boys, brit for boys, B’nai Mitzvah, Confirmation, and weddings. And the clergy are here for you when you face illness, personal troubles and deaths.
- Learning at Temple is a lifelong experience, not something we provide only to our children. There are weekly learning sessions, multi-session seminars, and individual, stand-alone learning opportunities.
- There are havurot, small groups, who gather to celebrate holidays together or learn how to manage shared life experiences.
- And, of course, there is religious school for our children. Learning begins at age 3. Each year’s curriculum builds on the last and children participate continuously through 12th grade.
- Long-term friendships are created at Temple through Brotherhood and Sisterhood. Friendships that begin around the Mah Jongg table expand to social justice activities and beyond.
- Volunteering creates opportunities to meet congregants with similar interests. Bakers prepare the weekly oneg following worship Friday evening and bibliophiles manage the Wurn Family Library, the largest Jewish library in the southeast.
- Weekly and holiday services nourish our souls. We embrace a variety of worship styles with a combination of Hebrew and English passages. The style is more traditional some weeks and more creative others; some weeks we use the Mishkan Tefilah and some weeks we write our own service.
- Music is an important part of the worship experience here at The Temple – be it the Adult Chorale, the Friday Night Live Band or the Jew Crew, our teenage band – enjoy!
Why do we have to pay dues?
Dues support Temple’s annual operating expenses, such as clergy salaries, building utilities, administrative and maintenance staff, ritual items, landscaping, program expenses, insurance, and office supplies. A portion of dues income is paid to the Union of Reform Judaism, our national organization. In exchange for this payment, URJ provides resources to help us “be the best we can be.”
What if I cannot afford dues?
We certainly understand that every family is at a different stage in life and each of us must address our own personal obligations the best way we are able. Our Congregation prides itself on the fact that finances are never a barrier to Temple membership. Those congregants who cannot afford full dues complete a Dues Adjustment Request, which, in addition to basic questions about your income and expenses, asks what you can afford to pay to support our congregation. Every effort is made to respect your request. What is most important to Temple is that congregants honor the dues commitment they make so we are able to meet our financial obligations.
Why do I have to pay religious school tuition in addition to dues?
Religious school is a commitment we make to our congregation. Religious school tuition does not cover all the expenses of running the school. A portion of all members’ dues is used to support the school. Those congregants who are benefiting directly from the school pay tuition while their children are students. If you do not have school-age children, you do not pay the additional fee.