Honey and Poi: The Middle Years 1980-1999

Honey and Poi Cover


Background: In the beginning, Sof affiliated with the conservative movement of Judaism and was in touch with its headquarters at the Jewish Theological Seminary for ritual, religious, personnel, and organizational matters. The relationship had, however, not been smooth and questions of money payments and service rose often. In an effort to get back on a healthy relationship, Sof leaders initiated the following steps.

Relations between Sof and United Synagogue of America (now United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism) were once again brought up. President Merle Fischlowitz wrote to Rabbi Benjamin Kreitman, executive vice president of USAM, explaining Sof’s financial predicament and asking to be treated differently from other congregations because of its size, high cost of living, and geographical location. He suggested that the only regional service of which Sof had availed itself was Camp Ramah. Kreitman referred Fischlowitz’s letter to Harold Lipchik, chairman of the Economics Committee of the Pacific Southwest Region (PSWR), which handles the subject of Sof’s dues and relationships as a member of that region. Lipchik thanked Fischlowitz for his letter because the PWSR had been trying to establish contact with Sof for two years without success.

President Fischlowitz had proposed paying a sum of 6% of dues collected in 1985-86, a sum of 5% of dues collected in in 1986-87 plus 0.5% for Camp Ramah. Lipchik stated that Sof’s situation had always been recognized and that, on the basis of a new USAM plan officially beginning in 1987-88, payments to USAM would be based on a percentage of actual dues collected. Moreover, Lipchik was willing to begin this program in 1986-87, providing Sof forwarded 6% of its ’85-’86 dues collection, plus $500 to clear up the $2,737 in arrears at that point. Fischlowitz thanked Lipchik for his constructive letter and indicated that he would be back in touch after consulting with the Sof board. The financial arrangement (6% of collected dues plus $500) suggested in the letters between Merle Fishlowitz and Harold Lipchik of the PSWR of USAM was approved.

Update: Currently Sof pays about $1000 annually to USCJ.  We receive a batch of Luachs (calendar of dates, rituals, aliyahs for services), listing on the USCJ website, publication and personnel information, and other support material from time to time.