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Membership FAQs

How many members are there and where do they come from?

We have about 340 family and single households. Around half live in Winchester, Arlington, and Lexington. The rest are from surrounding towns, including Andover, Belmont, Cambridge, Medford, Melrose, Medford, Reading, Stoneham, and Wakefield.

What’s the makeup of the congregation?

Single, married, partnered, widowed, and divorced, with and without children. Young families, empty-nesters, seniors, and retired. LGBTQ and straight, we’re all here in one community. Percentage of interfaith families? We estimate that at least forty percent of our families include one other-than-Jewish adult.

How involved can members who are not Jewish be?

Completely. Full inclusion. At services and all lifecycle events. On the temple board and committees. Ready to chair one?

What about membership costs and school tuition?

Members pay annual fees (and tuition if your kids attend religious school) to keep the place running, to pay staff and teacher salaries, and to support the programming and activities that create the rich community life we have here. We're completely self-financed, and we all share in the responsibility. 

But we understand that everyone can't share equally. If you want to join, we will make the fees work for your budget. Check our membership and tuition schedule first. Then if needed, contact our treasurer or director of administration to talk about a payment plan that works for you. 

What if I don't believe in God, can't read Hebrew, and loathe lox?

None of these should be a dealbreaker. Conceptualizing God is personal. Reading Hebrew is a skill, and if you don't have it, that's what transliterations are for. What does matter is that you want to be part of a Jewish community. And about the lox...not a problem—a bagel with only cream cheese is completely acceptable.

Can you tell me about the style of Shir Tikvah's Shabbat services and holiday celebrations?

Relaxed and informal. Music-filled. Come as you are. Always looking to make Judaism meaningful. Always an opportunity for people to connect more deeply. 

When do children attend religious school and do you need to be a member?

Our religious school runs from September to May. Sunday classes are held at the Ambrose Elementary School in Winchester, a ten-minute drive from Shir Tikvah. Weekday classes are held at the Temple. And yes, you need to be a member to enroll your child from first grade on.

Grades 1–6: Weekly Sunday classes from 9:30 to 11:30 am. Grades 4 and 5 also meet on Tuesdays from 3:45 to 5:45 pm; Grade 6 meets on Wednesdays at the same time.

Grade 7: Ten Sunday morning classes from 9:30 to 11:30 am and Wednesday afternoons from 3:45 to 5:45 pm.

High School (Grades 8-12): Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 8:00 pm and includes pizza.

Do many people leave after their youngest child becomes a bar/bat mitzvah?

No. Why would they leave their Jewish home? Shir Tikvah isn’t a place people come solely to have their kids get a Jewish education. It’s a place they come to find out how Judaism can enrich their daily lives. It’s where people learn and grow and do together. And once you have a place like that in your life, you don’t let go.

Does the Temple keep kosher?

Not quite. At Shir Tikvah-hosted events, such as potlucks and holiday celebrations, we stick with vegetarian, dairy, and fish dishes so that everyone can eat together. Food for private catered celebrations held at the Temple, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and weddings, can be prepared “kosher-style."

Who runs the place?

We do, in a collaborative partnership with our professional staff. Members take ownership for all aspects of Shir Tikvah, including programming, governance, and planning for the future.

How do you help new members fit in?

The Membership Committee welcomes new members soon after they join to smooth the way and help make the first year a wonderful experience. We'll introduce you to members in your cohort group and invite you to special activities where you'll meet others also starting out. Members with children in the religious school meet their parent peer group on the first day of school, at get-togethers and learning events throughout the year, and over coffee and bagels in the school lobby on Sundays. But the best way to feel part of things is to get involved in something that interests you. We can help with that.

Tue, June 19 2018 6 Tammuz 5778