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Do most Christian Churches do this as well?

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I wanted to send my kids to Hebrew School this year (it would be much like Sunday school in Christianity).

I understood there would be a cost involved(and oy what a cost!) and had no issue with that. Those who work at the school deserve to be paid as any other teacher would.

However, I recently learned one also has to be a member of the Synogogue to enroll their children. In order to be a member one has to once again pay and again (oy what a cost!).

All of this is outside my budget, can't do it, will teach my kids at home.

Now, don't misunderstand, I am aware that it takes money to keep the building, pay the Rabbi and other employees, etc. etc. I am also aware that all of this money stuff reminds me too much of shades of TWI and leaves me feeling uncomfortable.

BUT it seems to me, that demanding the money is somehow wrong. To say, you can't learn because you can't afford to. . .

So I was wondering, do most Christian churches have similar practices? Or do they rely soley on what people choose to give in the offering plates?

I find it ironic that a synogogue which was started independently by college professors who wanted a place to study and teach their children outside of the confines of an orthodox setting, makes it so expensive to take the classes. I'm talking....hmmm for my kids to go to Hebrew School via my membership is almost $1000.00.

Like I said, we will learn here at home.

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Is it normal to require the children attending church-schools to be in families that are members of that church? I don't know. I have heard that some do require this. My neices did attend a church-school (Keyes, Ca), though I dont think that they had to become members first, they were members of a sister-church in a neighboring town (Ceres, Ca) at the time.

The church (First Baptist, Ceres Ca) that they were members of did require tithing. At tax time, all memebers filed out a form listing how much they earned the previous year and how much they expected to earn the following year. The form calculated 10% of your annual income and then calculated the twelve even monthly payments. At the bottom of the form you signed it, pledgeing to the church to pay this amount each month. And then during the year, they monitored your giveing and if your tithe fell below your pledge amount they sent out letters reminding you.

I know that they considered the tuition rather high to attend the church-school in Keyes, but I dont know how much it was.

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The Catholic church in our area has a school deal--if you donate 10% of your income to the church, all of your kids can attend Catholic school on that.Which is a great deal if you have six kids in catholic school. But I think it is only for church memebers.

The independant Christian school here does have a scholarship program,and I know they pay thier teachers peanuts(less than I make, even.)

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"if you donate 10% of your income to the church, all of your kids can attend Catholic school on that"

Right, which I can understand. The church is supplying a service and you are paying for that service.

Likewise I can understand paying tuition. I'm just not sure I understand the need to pay both, I guess separate services?

I don't know, perhaps its just an emotional response from my TWI days, but it really bothers me. Well, in either case, I won't take food off the table to pay for either one (tithe or Hebrew school), I will simply teach my kids at home. Perhaps that is just as well anyway, becuase there may be things taught which I disagree with or it may be that things I would like emphasized won't be. I just thought it would be a neat experience for them and it would be really really cool for them to learn a little Hebrew along the way.

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"Ah, so it turns out that the "tree of knowledge" requires more the cost of "tuition" than "intuition"?"

Not in the information age, Danny! I can find everything I need right here on the good ol' internet and have been for quite a while. I just thought it would have been fun for the kids to go and learn some of this stuff with other kids their own age.

There are some things that are difficult for me to teach them here at home, but the most important things, the ethics and morals, that I can do. Even the stuff about giving back to the community we can do without paying membership fees. There are plenty of ways and plenty of organizations who are looking for a helping hand and don't charge membership fees in the process.

In fact, my seven year old is participating in jump rope for hearts this year and both boys are helping me make bags of popcorn tomorrow to sell at Monday's soccer games to raise money for the schools athletic programs (like new soccer nets icon_smile.gif:)--> ).

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Originally posted by Abigail:

Not in the information age, Danny! I can find everything I need right here on the good ol' internet and have been for quite a while. I just thought it would have been fun for the kids to go and learn some of this stuff with other kids their own age.

So true, Abigail. I imagine there are also a number of beginners' Hebrew grammars and flash cards designed for children, if learning the language is an objective.

I picked up a used copy of "A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew" by J. Weingreen a couple years ago (I think I paid about $10 for it), which has proven very helpful for familiarizing myself with the language, though kids would most likely find it a bit on the dry side.


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Most Protestant churches I'm acquainted with don't charge anything or require any membership or any thing like that for kids to attend. The Methodist church we currently attend has full-time paid staff who teach and oversee the kids on Sunday, as well as offering lotza free activities during the week. My daughter, who is 17, is very well compensated for her time there. icon_smile.gif:)-->

The only thing they charge for is Parent's Night Out the first Friday of the month. It costs 10 bucks for a night of games and pizza for the kids.

All the bible studies, confirmation classes, etc. are free. The church even furnishes the books and bibles.

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Ah the Methodists! icon_smile.gif:)-->

As a member of the United Methodist Churches I can say that, via their Shalom Zone ministries, all people, adults and children alike, are welcome and do not have to pay a thing.

I went through the Shalom Zone training back in '95 or '96 (gotta find my certification and check that out...don't know where it is since the move). The training was awesome and intense...and free.

Since then, the Shalom Zone efforts of my church in Topeka grew to become a 501©3 organization that does after school programs every day of the school week, has Friday Fun Nights for the whole family (movies, games, food, etc), has a mentoring program and a tutoring program, and we have built an 11 unit apartment complex for low- to moderate-income families in my old neighborhood. My church is also a host site for Meals on Wheels. From what I've heard, the next effort will be a school...with hopes that nobody will be rejected for lack of ability to pay.

All of these programs are available to anybody anywhere at no charge (except, of course, rent...which is subsidized). We have worked diligently to access all funding available through all avenues and have been able to maintain these programs by combining funding from the UMC General Church, HUD, several philanthropic organizations, local fund raising efforts, state housing monies, etc.

This all said, however, most religious organizations will not accept funding from any outside source besides parishioners/congregants/members because of all of the strings attached...particularly the strings attached to any government funding.

Most often the strings attached are related to keeping the church from denying program access to "outsiders" or "non-believers", and to safeguard program beneficiaries from being hounded by the church to "believe or leave".

Most religious groups feel that these types of strings hinder their ability to preach the gospel or whatever their group does.

The Covenant of Shalom in Topeka decided these strings were not heavy burdens...that any witness to Christ is done by the way a church acts towards the people of the community or anybody else, not by forcing people to join and "believe" if they want to participate in programs.

The UMC slogan is "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." Although not practiced wholly by all UMC churches, I can say without a doubt that my old church lives up to the challenge.

So I guess I'm saying that if where you're looking isn't meeting your needs, look elsewhere.

I know that there is tons of funding available...it's just a matter of looking...and be willing to accept that most funding sources will not fund closed programs.

I also know that most religious schools have grants and scholarships available to anybody. Which is why I was surprised that you weren't offered that information...unless that particular school just doesn't need or doesn't want students outside of their circle.

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Ex10 & CW,

Thanks for the information and input! Hmmmm, maybe I should convert again - lol. icon_smile.gif:)--> It seems I still haven't found a place I'm comfortable with. icon_frown.gif:(-->

I checked out a reform synogogue a while back, which I liked, but their service times just didn't work for my family - way too late at night on Friday and way too long of a service on Saturday for my two little guys to sit through.

I thought perhaps the reconstructionist synogogue would work, at least the hours were better. And it was much smaller and more family oriented.

"Which is why I was surprised that you weren't offered that information...unless that particular school just doesn't need or doesn't want students outside of their circle. "

I don't know CW. A number of my alarm bells have gone off, but I'm not sure if its reflex reaction from TWI or if there is really cause for concern.

When I went the first time, I really enjoyed it. The Rabbi was very friendly and he requested that I make an appointment to meet with him, which I did. During the meeting he told me a bit about the synogogue (it's history, focus, goals, etc.) and I told him a bit about myself. The reconstruction movement is in some ways very traditional and in others very radical (i.e. liberal).

However, this synogogue only recently joined the reconstruction movement, previously they were independent and run by the congregants with the main focus being study. I think they have only had a Rabbi for about a year.

It appears to be a very small group, which attends regularly, less than 25 people. They all seem quite friendly. But in the most recent news letter the Rabbi's article focused on growth and outreach (OUCH!!!! this is especially strange because outside of the Chassidic movement, Jewish people do not proseletyze) and the President's article was about giving more money (DOUBLE OUCH!!!!).

I'm trying to balance the idea that all churches want to grow in size and need money to maintain themselves, etc. with my skittishhness over this stuff.

I know one thing, if they ever ask me to go door to door witnessing I'm definitely outta there!!!!! lol lol

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I had to do some learnin' before I could feel OK about a response! So I looked up "reform synogogue" on Yahoo! and found some links.

This link is the one I found to be the most helpful in giving me an idea of what "reform" means in the world of Judaism.

A sentence on the above-linked page says,

Reform Jews are committed to the principle of inclusion, not exclusion.

From your description of your experience, I cannot see that inclusion is part of that particular group's standards.

The page goes on to talk about the absolute equality of women.

Maybe the group you are involved with doesn't understand women's needs? Particularly the needs of single mothers?

I dunno, Abi. I am just shocked as all get out that you were dismissed with a price tag and no other options.

That's not a twi leftover feeling for me. That's a feeling I learned from going to churches all of my life (twi years excluded)...and from having a granddaughter that has attended religious schools.

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Oh...one more thing...

If a church is growing in size, then it is also growing in tithes and offerings...usually.

The idea that a church needs to sell something (like schooling for children) to grow is kinda odd...and sounds my alarms, too.

Seriously, if a church is doing what it is supposed to be doing spiritually, then what's all the need to be so money-oriented as to deny the learning of children who cannot afford the price?

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Definition of terms here

Is Hebrew school a regular school or is it just for religious instruction?

In Chrisitanity, Sunday school is something held before the main service. There's no charge as outreach is the goal.

Some churches have schools K-12 that compete with public and parochial schools for students. They generally charge tuition.

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Hebrew school is akin to Sunday school, though it is not held on the sabbath. For K - 3 they meet once a week for 2 hours. 4 - 6th or 7th they meet twice a week. 7th graders is a somewhat different class because that is when they really crack down and prepare for Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah.

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The group I was referring to was actually reconstruction movement and they are even more liberal than reform (i.e. they take out all gender references to God, accept homosexuals, even accept those who want to come but aren't jewish and don't wish to convert). They also have a somewhat different emphasis, in that they really emphasise community service, taking care of the planet, making the world a better place.

I can attend the services without paying the fee. I just can't send my kids to Hebrew school without paying membership fees and the school fees.

Another difference, which I think is important to keep in mind is they do not pass an offering plate during services, though you most certaining can contribute money anytime throughout the year.

So, I dunno. I think I prefer the way most Christian churches do it, leaving the giving and amount up to the parishoners - it is much easier to be a cheerful giver when you aren't feeling cornered into doing it.

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Abigail stated it seems wrong to say you cant learn because you cant afford to.

Education is a service rendered by people who need to be recompenced for their service.

"Being alive" gives no one the right to an education. "Being alive" gives no one the "right" to ANYTHING! If you want something, one must EARN it.

But I forgot you believe you were entitled to take hard earned money from those who earned it, in order to pay for your college education.

The philosophy of "ENTITLEMENT" - WHAT A CONCEPT. Or is that "socialism"?

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"Abigail stated it seems wrong to say you cant learn because you cant afford to."

I think that we must first recognize that different people mean differnt things when they say: "education".

I have known college grads who were in serious need of an education, and I have also known people who were 'self-educated' and yet seemed to have a firm grasp on many various topics.

Learning costs nothing. Some families Homeschool their children on zero budget, others spend thousands. Some will read every book available on a given subject and will combine that with On-The-Job Training and they will know a great deal about their area of expertise; while others will attend the finest Universitys and graduate knowing very little.

"Education is a service rendered by people who need to be recompenced for their service."

It does seem to have worked out much better, in my grandparent's day. Before Public education. Any local parent who themselves had a greater than 6th grade education, could volunteer to be the Head-Master of the local grammar school. The Head-Master would ask for some portion of each family's harvest. Two of my grandparents taught grammar school from 1910-1930-ish.

Long before the era of 'entitlement'.

" "Being alive" gives no one the right to an education. "Being alive" gives no one the "right" to ANYTHING! If you want something, one must EARN it."

I would respectfully dis-agree.

Here in America we do have rights.

To pursue a better life, to breath air, etc. . .

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thanks Sky and likewise. My response was very much for Chwester only. Its an old argument. It seems to really bother him that I utilize the programs which my tax dollars (as well as his) pay for to work for a better life for myself and my children, instead of wallowing in misery, bitterness and self-pity as he does.

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