Thinking about joining?

Welcome!

If you’re considering membership, here are some things you can do to get to know more about us:

  • Contact us.  Someone will be in touch by email or phone very soon to answer any questions and tell you more about our Congregation.
  • We welcome visitors at our services and other activities.
  • Check out the frequently asked questions below (on this page), and check other information on this website, too.

Here are answers to some questions frequently asked by prospective members:

Where and when are services and other events held?

We meet formally on the second Saturday and fourth Friday each month for Shabbat services at the Ann Arbor JCC, our home base. (The JCC is located at 2935 Birch Hollow Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.)  Our religious school meets there weekly, as well.  Communal dinners, Torah study, and informal prayer service held in members’ homes supplement these Shabbat observances. Our High Holiday services are held at the Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalist Church, 4001 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103.

Who leads your services?

Rabbi Ora Nitkin-Kaner will begin her tenure as our congregation’s rabbi on September 1, 2017. Read more about Rabbi Ora here.

Do I need to be a member to attend your services and events?

Because we believe that the opportunity to gather and pray should always be freely available to all, our services (including High Holidays) are open to members and non-members alike.  We strongly encourage non-members to attend services or other events in order to get the flavor of who we are. Naturally, we’d like everyone interested in our activities to become a member, but we understand that there may sometimes be individual reasons for not joining while still wanting to take part in some of our community’s activities.

Most activities are also open to non-members. At some limited-capacity events, we may first offer the available spots to members, in order to accommodate all members who wish to attend. And we often charge non-members slightly more for activities, to help pay for overhead costs that are subsidized by members’ dues.

Will my family be comfortable?

AARC is committed to building a participative, inclusive Jewish community that welcomes all regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, or Jewish background. We are an egalitarian and participatory congregation of families and singles, embracing inclusiveness as a core value .  Our community includes members from a wide variety of Jewish traditions, interfaith families, and non-Jews exploring Judaism. AARC nurtures the feel of the Havurah that we were for nearly two decades—informal, dynamic, and highly participatory—while we continue to deepen our learning and practice with new rabbinic leadership.

What’s the congregation’s approach to membership?

Our community’s greatest strength and most vital resource is our members. We honor the range and variety of the talents and experiences our members bring to the community, and appreciate and rely on the support they give to the congregation through participation and financial contributions.   We believe our congregation is a shared responsibility, and that our efforts to meet that responsibility enrich our community.

What is Reconstructionist Judaism?

Reconstructionism is a progressive movement within Judaism that attempts to fuse tradition with modernity—taking the practices and rituals of Judaism seriously, and also recognizing importance of equality and inclusiveness. For more information, and lots of resources and links, click here.

Does your religious school accept children of non-members?

We’d like every family whose children attend our Beit Sefer to be members of the AARC, but we recognize that may not be possible in individual circumstances. So we don’t require membership as a condition of enrolling children into the religious school.

Because the Congregation subsidizes the school’s operation with money from our members’ dues, we ask non-member children to pay tuition that reflects the actual cost of operating the school, rather than the subsidized amount paid by members’ children.

How much does membership cost?

We have a strong commitment to keep membership in our community affordable and available to all, regardless of income.  We ask each member family for an annual contribution in the range of $800 to $3600. At our current number of members, the AARC can meet its expenses if families pay average dues of $1000–but since many cannot pay at that level, we ask those who can to pay more.  If desired, dues can be paid in installments. There are no other required costs for membership, such as initiation fees or building fund donations.

For those to whom this amount creates a hardship, reduced dues are available on request, although all members are asked to pay some amount. Please contact our Treasurer, to discuss dues. All inquiries are confidential.  In addition, if you are already affiliated with some other congregation and wish to join/support AARC as well, feel free to contact our Treasurer to discuss reduced dues.

Full-time students may join AARC individually for $36.

How can I get a membership application?

It’s on-line: see details below (after the FAQ’s).

Are parts of your website available only to Congregation members?

Most of the site is open to all, with a few exceptions. For example, only congregation members have access to our membership directory, financial information, and meeting minutes. This helps safeguard members’ privacy and lets us make important information quickly and easily available to members.

Decided to join us? Great! Two steps remain:

  • FIRST, please complete out our online membership form.
  • SECOND, pay annual dues.  This can be in one payment, or in quarterly installments. Click the Donate button at the top right of this page to make a secure online credit card contribution via Paypal, OR mail a check to:

Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation
c/o Jewish Community Center
2935 Birch Hollow Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108