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Money for Values: Rethinking Synagogue Engagement and Finance

Between January and March we held a series of webinars, based on the 4 sessions we had at our Biennial Conference – Chagigah. with Rabbi Lou Feldstein, an expert in synagogue finance. We are excited that you can now watch the webinars, by following the links below.

If you wish to receive a PDF version of the webinars’ presentations or to find out how your community can get involved with this initiative,  please contact us at You can also join our Yammer group by clicking here and selecting ‘Money for Values Initiative’ group.

Re-Thinking Synagogue’s Engagement and Finance Initiative includes:

  • Developing a culture of giving through fundraising and donors’/ members appreciation.
  • Mission driven Budget- practical ways to align your budget with you mission and sharing your financial stories with members.
  • Investigating ways to improve or even change the membership model* that will create both greater engagement and financial contribution.

Webinar 1: Changing How We Think – Positioning Giving as a Pathway to Engagement; with Lou Feldstein

Membership fees: a fee for service or a charitable donation? Tzedaka, giving money to charity, is at the core of Judaism so how have we created a culture in our communities whereby giving to sustain our synagogues is not thought of as such? Celebrate the centenary of the Membership Fee model (yes, only 100 years!) by exploring what it is we need to change to rethink engagement and finance in our communities for the 21st Century. How can we reinstate a culture of giving and put relationships back at the core of what we do?

Webinar 2: The battle of the Membership Fee Models with Amit Handelsman

Recent research shows that the 21st Century raised some serious challenges to the model we are so familiar with- the membership fee model. In this session we will learn about the other fee models out there and examine their pros and cons. Be inspired by case studies of communities who explored different ways of raising money through fees, invested in engaging with their members and building strong relationships with them.

Webinar 3: The Power of Telling Your Financial Story with Lou Feldstein

Judaism has an incredible tradition of telling stories, of oral history that has spanned 5000 years. How can we use our heritage and this skill to articulate our financial stories? In this session we will identify what we need to know and what type of relationships we need to build in order to both develop our financial story and identify the storyteller.

Webinar 4: 

Part #1: Putting Mission at the Heart of your Budgeting Process  with Lou Feldstein

Part #2: The Top Five Ways to Create a Budget that is Engaging, Transparent and Reflect your Vision

A major way we can tell our financial story is through a budgeting system that reflects our values and our mission rather than one whose sole purpose is to break even. This practical session encourages communities to engage visionaries as well as accountants in the budgeting process ensuring your budget not only balances the books but is aligned with your communities values. Learn the tools to put theory into practice and discover how your budgeting process can increase engagement, transparency and a shared sense of accountability.

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