At our congregation in Atlanta, we have already made our arrangements to purchase the new Machzor – Mishkan HaNefesh – even though it won’t be ready until Rosh HaShanah, 2015. Why? First and foremost – this innovative Machzor will be transformative for our congregation.We have piloted drafts of the Machzor, and are excited to have the real thing in our hands for the High Holy Days.
But we are also making the necessary arrangements to welcome the Machzor into our congregation because the savings are simply too good to pass up! For congregations and institutions that make a 25% deposit by April 1, 2014– the double volume (one for Rosh Hashanah and another – a different color – for Yom Kippur) will cost only $25.20/ set. This is a 40% savings from the list price. That gives us all plenty of time to consider the manner in which we will pay for our new Machzorim.
CCAR has worked very hard to keep the cost of the Machzor as low as possible, and as close as possible to that of Mishkan T’filah. The decision to divide the book into two volumes is a direct response to feedback from Mishkan T’filah. With this kind of a large project, so much goes into the development of the material that whether it is bound in one or two volumes factors very little into the cost and is not reflected in the pricing.
Regardless, buying new prayerbooks is surely a challenge for most of our congregations and communities. But there are creative ways to make it possible. As you begin that journey, I offer the following possibilities:
For congregations in which individual members purchase their own prayerbooks:
• Consider including the price of the Machzor in High Holy Day materials for 2013 or 2014.
• Include the price of the Machzor on the dues statement for one year, at the beginning of the fiscal year.
• Purchase the Machzorim, and sell them to members at the list price or higher as a fundraiser (for example, $36 or $50); use the income to purchase more Machzorim or other siddurim, such as Mishkan T’filah for the House of Mourning.
For Congregations in which the synagogue purchases, stores, and keeps the prayerbooks:
• Consider moving unrestricted endowment funds into a restricted prayerbook fund.
• Find a donor to purchase the books, and put a book plate acknowledging that donation, or find 5-10 donors at a smaller level, acknowledging each in a book plate.
• Allocate funds from the synagogue budget over the next three years.
• Invite affiliate groups, such as Women of Reform Judaism or Men of Reform Judaism, to help manage or raise funds for the project.
• Combine forces with a Kol Nidrei appeal (allow a check off for one or multiple Machzorim, which is not a big increase over whatever else someone is able to donate).
• Hold a gala dinner (honor someone if you prefer), and sell bookplates instead of a tribute book.
• Sell bookplates over the course of 1-2 years.
• Allocate funds from annual events, such as Purim Carnival or Chanukah Bazaar to a Machzor fund.
A final note: I have found that the best way to “sell” the Machzor is to “engage” with the Machzor. To that end, consider the following:
• Consider piloting one of the High Holy Day services (Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah, Erev Yom Kippur, Yom Kippur, Yom Kippur Minchah, Yizkor).
• Incorporate poems, prayers, and readings into divrei Torah, Board Meetings, Shabbat services, bulletin articles, etc. (permission from CCAR requested).
• Invite a member of the editorial committee to have a Skype conversation with your Board or Ritual committee.
• Include links to RavBlog (Ravblog.ccarnet.org) – CCAR’s blog, featuring Machzor related posts – in your synagogue newsletter. Invite your members to subscribe to the CCAR blog so they can be part of the process.
• Offer learning opportunities related to the Machzor using materials from Machzor: Challenge and Change, a resource pack of materials on Machzor themes.
For more information on ordering Machzorim, engaging your constituency, or participating in piloting, please send a note to Machzor@ccarnet.org or feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Learn more about the new CCAR Machzor.
Rabbi Peter Berg is the Senior Rabbi at The Temple, in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the CCAR Membership Liaison to the Machzor Editorial Team.