If you’re considering membership, here are some things you can do to get to know us better:
- Contact us. Someone will return your call or email as soon as possible to answer any questions and tell you more about our Congregation.
- Subscribe to our email newsletters by entering your info on the signup form to the right.
- We welcome visitors at our services and other activities.
- Check out the frequently asked questions below, and browse around our website and read back through our blog!
Here are answers to some questions frequently asked by prospective members:
Where and when are services and other events held?
We generally gather on the second Saturday and fourth Friday each month for Shabbat services at our home base, the Jewish Community Center of Ann Arbor. Our High Holiday services are held at the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been conducting services that can be attended in person or online. Zoom links are regularly sent out by email to members. Non-members can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for links.
Who leads your services?
Rabbi Gavrielle Pescador and a variety of lay leaders.
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 limited-capacity events, we may give members priority for available slots. For activities with costs attached, we often charge a slightly higher non-member price, to help pay for overhead costs that are subsidized by members’ dues.
Will my family be comfortable?
AARC is committed to building a participatory, inclusive Jewish community that welcomes all regardless of age, race or ethnicity, gender, 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 AARC members, but we recognize that may not be possible in individual circumstances. For that reason we don’t require membership for enrollment.
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 $5000. At our current number of members, the AARC can meet its expenses if families pay average dues of $1600. 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.
If the recommended $800-$5000 range creates a hardship, we encourage you to contact our Treasurer to request reduced dues. All inquiries are confidential. In addition, if you are already affiliated with another congregation and wish to join/support AARC as well, you are also welcome to request reduced dues.
Full-time students may join AARC individually for $36.
How can I get a membership application?
It’s online! See details 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 our online membership form.
- SECOND, please pay annual dues. This can be in one payment or in installments. Click the Donate button at the top right of this page to make a secure online credit card contribution or ACH payment, OR mail a check to:
Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation
c/o Jewish Community Center
2935 Birch Hollow Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
IMPORTANT: Please mark your payment as “Dues” on your paper check or in the online payment system. Thank you!