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Membership Information

Welcome to B’nai Sholom! We’re really glad you’re checking out the membership page and hope you will visit us, talk with congregants and choose to join us as a member.

B’nai Sholom welcomes newcomers to our congregation, including people in interfaith marriages and of all races, abilities, sexual orientations and gender identities. We are a warm, welcoming community in an active Reform temple that provides opportunities for spiritual growth, continuous learning and social action. We work to introduce and orient new members to our vibrant community, and we create programs to deepen and broaden the engagement of both current and prospective members in Jewish life and service, such as Music Bridge, which brings our teen musicians to entertain nursing home residents, and Tot Shabbat, a Friday night worship service for families with young children.

Learn more about us by signing up for our monthly bulletin and/or joining us for Friday night services  or one of our many educational, social action or just-for-fun activities. We have adult education classes, weekly Torah study on Saturday mornings, an annual fair trade market, wine and cheese tastings, a chili-making contest, and periodic open-mic coffeehouses, among other things, all open to the public. Or perhaps you’d like to join us when we help at the soup kitchen or our program with Family Promise of the Capital Region, collect clothes at our clothing drives or put together our Books for Babies packages. There is always a lot going on. Many of our congregants have come to a few activities and gotten to know us a bit before deciding to join. You can too.

Below are some common questions about membership. Please click on the category to see the answers. If you have additional questions or want to sign up to receive our monthly bulletin, feel free to contact the B’nai Sholom office at 518-482-5283 or via email at office@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us. Our office manager can answer most questions, and she can refer you to our rabbi or our Membership Committee chair as needed.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Benefits of Membership

Members of our congregation have entered into a brit, or covenant, to support and be supported by the congregation. Membership allows the synagogue and the member to affirmatively acknowledge their commitment to each other.

Membership in the synagogue affords the following privileges:

  • Services of our rabbi for life cycle events
  • Ability to enroll your children in our religious school, B’Yachad (operated jointly with two other local synagogues)
  • Step-by-step guidance for your child to become a bar or bat mitzvah
  • Eligibility for your child to attend highly acclaimed summer camps of the Union for Reform Judaism — Crane Lake Camp and Camp Eisner, both in the Berkshires
  • Ability for your teen to participate in our high school youth group, YOBS, and, through YOBS, to attend regional teen events of the North American Federation of Temple Youth
  • Occasional care packages and other fun ways to keep in touch with your son or daughter away at college
  • Sponsorship and tutelage of our rabbi to non-Jewish spouses, partners or others family members interested in becoming Jews by choice
  • Ability to be buried in the B’nai Sholom Cemetery and to purchase burial privileges at reduced member rates.
  • Congregational support in the form of meals, rides, and other needed activities at times of illness, mourning, or other difficulties
    congregational recognition, celebration, and blessings at various events throughout the year in honor of volunteers, students, long-standing or new members, and the like
  • Discounted member rates for adult education classes, building rental fees, events where we charge admission, etc.
  • Voting privileges – At B’nai Sholom, every adult member has a vote on the annual budget, the officers and members of the board, and our rabbi’s contract.
  • Committee involvement – Our committees are the foundation of our participatory, empowered congregation, affording a great way to meet people, to feel a part of the congregation, and to work to improve the congregation, the community or the world. Most committees are open to all members.
  • Eligibility to be on the board of trustees or an officer of the congregation – a great way to exercise your leadership skills! Open to all Jewish members of the synagogue
  • Inclusion in and access to our congregational directory – the way to know everybody’s name and contact info
  • The pleasures of being part of a multi-generational group of people you probably wouldn’t otherwise know – a place to share the wisdom of the old and the energy of the young, recipes and hand-me-downs, leads on job openings, good babysitters, and houses going on the market, professional and personal advice
  • The added spirituality that comes from praying in a setting that feels like home and family
  • The additional meaning that comes from studying with others from diverse backgrounds who can debate in a safe space

Members support the congregation in a host of ways, through their attendance, their volunteer and leadership activities, their favorable remarks in the wider community, and their financial contributions. At B’nai Sholom, as at most synagogues, we have a dues structure for members. However, anyone who is unable to pay the standard amounts can seek a confidential dues reduction agreement.  No one is denied  membership for an inability to pay.

Dues on a Sliding Scale

Membership for all new members is 10 percent of the standard dues rate for the first fiscal year in which you join. Membership for all those age 35 and under is also 10 percent of the regular dues. The membership rate for those age 36 is 20 percent of the regular dues, and, for members between ages 37 and 40, financial responsibility increases each year by 20 percent of the full amount, so that, by age 40, a member is paying full dues.  Dues are paid quarterly.

As of December 2021, dues per quarter are as follows:

Congregant Age:Individual Membership:Family Membership:
35 & under$26.50$53
36$53$106
37$106$212
38$159$328
39$212$424
40 & older$265$530

The dues rate for family membership is based on the age of the younger adult in the family.

We operate on a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year. Dues are based on a member’s age on July 1 of each year and are constant until July 1 of the following year.

Your membership will be billed quarterly at the 10 percent rate from the time you join until the next June 30, the end of our fiscal year.  For  example, if you join in February, you’ll enjoy the reduced new member rate for the quarters ending March 31 and June 30 of that year.  If you choose to join in July, the reduced rate will apply for a full year – four quarters – until the following June.

Membership Eligibility

Individuals seeking individual memberships must be Jewish. However, for a family membership, only one adult in the household must be Jewish.

Your partner will be considered a member of B’nai Sholom and enjoy most of the privileges of membership. For example, your partner will be entitled to vote, to serve on most committees, and to be buried in our cemetery.  There are a few activities that are restricted to Jews, such as serving on the ritual committee and board of trustees, reading from the Torah, and leading the blessings before the Torah reading.  We will find meaningful ways for your partner and other non-Jewish family members to participate in ceremonies important to your family, like a bar mitzvah.  You and your partner will find many other inter-faith families at B’nai Sholom with whom you can share your religious and family experiences.

Yes, and yes. Consistent with the national Reform Jewish movement’s position, our congregation recognizes as a Jew any person who has one Jewish parent, is raised and educated within the Jewish faith, and publicly identifies as a Jew.  In this regard, Reform Judaism differs from the Conservative and Orthodox movements, which recognize as Jews only those who have a Jewish mother or who have formally converted to Judaism.

Yes, of course — there’s no admissions exam! You’ll find B’nai Sholom to be a place where you can feel comfortable with whatever knowledge you possess, and a great place to learn more about Judaism.  We use a prayer book where every prayer that’s in Hebrew is also shown in transliteration and in translation.  We have a great education program for both kids and adults and wonderful holiday programming for all ages.

If you have questions about your status as a Jew, you should talk to our rabbi. She will be able to guide you in the best way for you to participate at B’nai Sholom.

Of course. B’nai Sholom does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, and you will find other same-sex couples here.

Learning More About B'nai Sholom

Yes, of course, please do! All our worship services are open to the public, member and non-member, Jew and non-Jew alike.  We have services every Friday night, some Saturday mornings, and most holidays.  You can find the dates and times posted on the calendar on the website, or you can contact the office.

Our services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are free of charge. However, we do ask folks to register in advance for those, so we can be sure to have enough seats and to know who is with us for security purposes.  We have a special service and program for kids in grades K-4 on those holidays, and we also offer babysitting for younger children and infants for a modest fee.

Sure. You could join us for one of our many educational, social action, or plain fun activities.  We have adult education classes, weekly Torah study on Saturday mornings, a fair trade market, wine and cheese tastings, a chili-making contest, and periodic open-mic coffeehouses, among other things, all open to the public.  Or perhaps you’d like to join us when we help at the soup kitchen or our homeless program, provide dessert for the Empty Bowls hunger event, or put together our Books for Babies packages.  There is always lots going on!   Many of our congregants have come to a few such activities and gotten to know us a bit before deciding to join.

Non-members can sign up to receive our monthly bulletin and weekly e-mail announcements, so you don’t miss out on upcoming events. Or, you can check our website – most events are listed on the calendar, and key events of interest are usually featured on the home page.  We also have a Facebook page, and you can follow us on Twitter, too (@BSRCalbany)

Membership Application Process

Fill out our membership application, available from this website or the B’nai Sholom office.  Then fill out: scan and email it to office@bnaisholomalbany.org or send it to B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation, 420 Whitehall Road, Albany, NY 12208

I’d really like to talk to someone about B’nai Sholom.

Contact the office by phone at 518-482-5283 or by email. The office manager can arrange for you to talk to our rabbi, the chair of our membership committee, our president, or a congregant who shares a particular interest or concern you may have.

Contact Us

420 Whitehall Road, Albany, NY 12208
518-482-5283|Email Us

Office Hours

Tuesday through Friday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Closed Mondays

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