strerching from Morningside to Marietta to Dunwoody, and, although their experiences have been positive, Roth says she

sees a lack of marketing from the synagogues. "I went to a young adult program :It a nearby temple. I had a great time, bur I never heard from them since," she says, adding that she sees lack of coordination within [he Jewish community. "I find th:n the synagogues do not 'woo' you," she explains. "I do reaJize it might be difficult to figure out who is who, but I think that with some team effort, they can reach out to members of the Jewish community." Preis and Roth plan to stay in their Emory apartment for at least another year. But while the Emory area shuls are attractive to them, they are not limiting themselves to their university neighborhood. For Roth, traveling to the right rongregation isnot a problem. "I wouJdn'tmind going (Q DunWO<Xiy if the shul is right," she says, adding that she is a member of the MJCCA. Another facror in their decision is whether they will even sray in the area, says Preis. "I love Atlanta, but I don'r know if we will be here forever," he adds, making their choice all the more crucial while they are here. "I wam ro affiliate with what's right for us."

tive members know that rhis is a place where your sense of Judaism is fulfilled, in addition to connecting with other congreganrs." Ultimately, it isup to the synagogues to make their congregations attractive to prospective members by meeting them where they are, whether they are joining to prepare for an upcoming bar or bat mitzvah, to find friends in a new town or gain spirituality, Turoff-Mucha adds. "Right now, people look to the temple as a someplace that takes money, a necessity if they want their kids to go to religious school or if they have spirituality needs," she explains. "The majority of other people don't see a purpose in joining [a congregation]." How can that be changed? Jews musr ask themselves why they would want to join a synagogue in the first place, Turoff-Mucha says. "The synagogue shoppers need to revise their checklists," she explains. "It's not just [about asking yourself] 'Where do 1want to go for services?' but [askingl. 'Is that aJl I want to do? Is their something more I should be doing Ue-.vishIyJ?' It's not JUStabout where to go for the High Holidays. Challenge yourself. [Ask yourself] 'Is that enough spirituality for me?'" While the spiritual COSt f affiliating can be high, it's the financial cost o that can make or break some families. While membership dues were not problematic for the families interviewed for this article, the cost of affiliation several hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars per year for the average Atlanta congregation - has turned scores of potential members away, many synagogue staff members agree. At Congregation Bet Haverim, a Rea:msrrucrionistsynagogue in Decarur, Rabbi Joshua Lesser says a sliding scale fee is in effect. "We do our best to work with people on all income levels. I believe (hat you should contribute to the best of your ability," he says. continued on page 36

Executive directors: attracting new members
\Vhile many prospective members feel the need to connect in a community-based setting, many synagogue shoppers say it is difficult to find what theywam in such a large metropolitan area. Enter the synagogue executive directors and membership committees. At Temple Kehillat Chaim, vice president of membership Rochelle Turoff-Mucha uses her marketing background ro draw out more diverse congregams. While most of the Reform Roswell congregation's members are couples wirh young children, '\o,'e have outreach meetings that seek our others," she says,such as seniors and empty-nesters. "I want to let prospec-



I would be honored to have your vote and support. If you need more information or want to volunteer for our campaign, please call me at 404-642-3156 or visit our campaign office at Toco Hills.


34 • atlanta jewish life july/august 2002