Frequently Asked Questions


  • Why a capital campaign?  Can’t synagogue dues cover the renovations?

    Just as with other Jewish and secular nonprofit institutions, our membership dues, program fees, and special fundraising appeals pay for annual operating costs.  They do not generate sufficient revenue to meet capital and renovation costs, which are designated for special large-scale projects.


  • What is the campaign goal?  Is it realistic?

    The goal of the capital campaign is $3.7 million or more. We have already raised nearly $3.6 million and believe we will reach or exceed our goal.


  • How is the campaign going?

    We have already raised nearly $3.6 million in donations and pledges from 150 of our members, including the full participation of our board. This is more than our congregation has ever raised and has occurred during a difficult economic climate so we feel confident that we can meet our goal of $3.7 million or more.


  • What are congregants giving?

    So far the gifts and pledges we have received cover a wide range from several thousand dollars up to $500,000. Many have chosen to pay these pledges over three to five years, expanding the total they can plege.  What they all have in common is that each donor has made a “stretch gift.” A stretch gift is the best gift you can make: not just what is comfortable, but the best donation possible, within your means.


  • How much should I give to the Solomon Campaign?

    We are asking every congregant to make a “stretch gift,” the largest gift you can make within your means. This Campaign is a chance to leave a lasting legacy – one that will have an impact on our congregation and the Jewish community for many years to come. It is our hope that you will consider making a “legacy gift” when you decide on the amount of your pledge/donation. Some things to consider when deciding on your pledge amount are an accurate appraisal of your financial situation, your feelings for Congregation Beth Jacob, the value you have received as a member, and your commitment to the future of our Jewish community. 

    We ask that you make your pledge to Congregation Beth Jacob’s Solomon Campaign your top philanthropic priority for the next few years.    By allowing congregants to make a pledge that is payable over a number of years, we trust that everyone will be able to make generous commitments to the campaign.


  • I don’t give to buildings. How can I participate?

    This renovation program is critical to the future of our synagogue.  We hope you will support it, but if you do not wish to help renovate our facilities then we ask you to make a gift to the Endowment Fund that is commensurate with what members are giving to the Capital Fund.  Gifts to the Endowment Fund ensure the financial strength of the congregation and enable us to continue to provide the excellent programming that is the heart of our community.  An Endowment gift now is more critical than ever.


  • Why I should give to The Solomon Project in lieu of other worthy causes?

    There are many important and worthy causes in the Jewish community, here in the Bay Area and in Israel.  But Congregation Beth Jacob is an essential foundation of the broader Jewish community. We build strong Jewish identities by educating children and adults. Through our religious services and life cycle events we are the essential link for many with their religion and heritage. We draw unaffiliated Jews back into Jewish life. Without Congregation Beth Jacob our Jewish community will be weaker and the other organizations you care about will be weakened in turn.

    Additionally, the Federation, Jewish World Service, and Jewish Family and Children’s Services, or AIPAC, just to name a few worthy Jewish organizations, can all draw on a large pool of supporters, locally and nationally. Congregation Beth Jacob can only call on us, the members, for these funds.  If we don’t give, no one else will. If we want this project to happen then we need to give the most we can, to insure its success.


  • How can pledges be paid?

    Pledge payment is designed to be flexible and responsive to the needs of congregants/donors. Pledges are payable over three years.  Many people pay their pledge out of income. You can pay monthly, quarterly or annually– whatever works for you.   Gifts can be made in cash, stock, or other liquic financial assets.


  • What is best for the synagogue – a gift I can contribute right now, or a multi-year pledge?

    What is most important is the total amount of your pledge.  Once you have determined that, the sooner you are able to fulfill your pledge, the less the synagogue will need in short-term borrowing to make up the difference in the timing of pledge payments, since the project costs will be incurred within approximately one year from ground breaking.


  • Won't this interfere with dues?

    The Solomon Campaign is a one-time, special fundraising effort. We are asking members to make capital gifts in addition to dues. We don’t want to harm our essential programs and operating budget.


  • What were the criteria of selection for the parts of the synagogue that you chose to renovate?

    The core of our building was the logical place to begin. Even if we had enough money to renovate the entire building we would have started with the Phase One priorities. Here are the advantages of this plan. First, we establish an inviting and welcoming entry point which makes a positive impression on current congregants and potential members. The renovated lobby will also serve as a more intimate gathering space than our current social hall, thus giving us greater flexibility for community programs and personal life-cycle events. We will provide an upgraded chapel which will be more comfortable, inviting, and functional along with a new conference/meeting room that can be used for expanded chapel seating. We will finally have upgraded bathrooms and an HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning) system that works and a reliable roof.


  • Isn’t this a bad time to be raising money and undertaking this project?

    The Solomon team weighed the current economic conditions heavily in the decision to proceed at this time.  The needs of the synagogue are urgent, whether in making necessary repairs to keep the building operating soundly, or in renewing spaces to meet the demands of vibrant programs.  From a project standpoint, this is a good time to build – we can attract the best talent, and at prices that are lower than in “boom” times.  From a donor standpoint, many are committing to pay their pledges not all-at-once, but over three to five years, benefiting from economic recovery over time.


  • Will the Solomon Project be a "green" project?

    Yes.  Our architects and contractors are already focused on energy efficiency and the use of renewable materials.


  • How will we continue to use our building during construction?

    We will continue to the use the other areas of the building during Phase One construction. Because Phase One has minimal impact on the sanctuary, social hall, office suite, and school wing, many of our activities will be minimally affected. As the project team moves forward, minimizing disruption will be a major focus of our planning. Members who have events scheduled during the construction phase have been contacted well in advance to make sure that their needs are accommodated as well as we possibly can.


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If you are interested in meeting with a team member, please contact Eric Stone by email or at 650-366-8481.