This birthday girl just got a rude awakening to her adult life. #Thisis 32 #Adulting
I went to pick up some papers today to find out more about membership rates at our local shul, i.e. the synagogue which we attend on a weekly basis. My husband and I got married a little less than 2 years ago, and we have not ever belonged to a shul before. We moved from NYC to Atlanta with the purpose of leading more affordable lifestyles. But when it comes to Jewish institutions, those mighty financially burdensome beasts rear their ugly heads no matter which part of the country you are in.
So we have come to realize.
This is not a new conversation. This has been a burning issue for a while—the high prices of Jewish day schools, synagogue membership fees, Kosher food—the only difference is that today I was struck more deeply and personally by this concern than ever before. Sure, I empathized with the articles on this topic which I have read in the past. But never before have I felt so personally affronted by this—until today.
What I saw when I picked up those papers this morning is that membership is WAY higher than I thought. And what I learned soon after is that our shul’s rates are pretty much comparable to others. Now I also have learned by my research so far that negotiation is possible, and even encouraged. That what is on paper for these membership fees is NOT set in stone and they try to take each family’s situation into account. And I am GRATEFUL for that. But on paper, this is a hot mess. And this birthday girl ain’t happy.
Then to add insult to injury, there is a cheaper rate for families under 30. Now, my husband and I would have LOVED to have met when we were 22. Trust me, neither of us enjoyed being single and dating all those people (you can read my book for more on that…), but to then use age as a number to gauge how much someone should pay—I’m sorry that is just obnoxious. When we lived in Riverdale last year, practically all of our newlywed friends were 5 years younger than us. And while age can be indicative of level of financial security, to make that assumption is simply unfair. Like I said, my husband and I would have loved to meet at 22 and get married. We would have loved to start growing our family in our mid-twenties. But one slight obstacle to that was that we met when we were 29!
G-d willing, in the future, we will begin to be able to negotiate and set out a plan for becoming members. Right now, however, I’ve got enough on my plate.