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Membership FAQ

1. How many members does Or Ami have?

We have approximately 130 “member units.” A member unit could be a single individual or a family of six. The size of our congregation makes it easy to get involved in the community and build a strong personal connection with the rabbi.

2. Where do most Or Ami members live?

Or Ami members live all over the greater Richmond area. Many live in Richmond, Midlothian,  Henrico, Mechanicsville, Ashland, Chesterfield, Glen Allen, Short Pump, Moseley, Manakin, Powhatan, and beyond.

3. My family is interfaith. Would we fit in at Or Ami?

Yes, the vast majority of Or Ami members are interfaith families. You will be in good company!

4. I am LGBTQ. Will I be welcome at Or Ami?

Yes, we have many LGBTQ members of all ages and backgrounds at our synagogue.

5. Do you have to be Jewish to be a member of Or Ami?

You are eligible to become a member of Or Ami if you were born or raised Jewish, if you have made an official commitment to convert to Judaism, or if you are part of a Jewish family (such as having a Jewish spouse/partner or raising a Jewish child even though you yourself are not Jewish).

6. How many children do you have in the Religious School?

We have around 50 children from tots to teens involved in our community’s youth programs, which include Torah Tots, the Joy Kramer Religious School, and OATY (our 8-12 grade youth group).

7. What are some of the benefits of becoming a member at Or Ami?

As an official member of Or Ami, you will enjoy many special benefits, including:

  • Rabbinic and communal support in the event of an unexpected crisis (illness, job loss, divorce, or any other challenging situation in life) and when celebrating a simchah (wedding, baby naming, bar/bat mitzvah, etc.)
  • The ability to enroll your children in our top-notch K-8 Religious School program
  • Discounts on our adult education classes and numerous community events

Most of all, membership and involvement with Or Ami will bring a sense of belonging, connection, and purpose to your life. The more you invest in the community, the greater the benefits you will experience.

8. How do I become a member of Or Ami?

We recommend that you contact us and set up a time to speak with the rabbi and membership chair. Then you simply fill out an official membership form called a Brit (meaning “covenant”).

9. How much does it cost to be a member of Or Ami?

The Brit (membership form) lists various membership support levels that depend on income level (which often but does not always correspond to age) and whether you want to join as an individual or as a family. These levels range from $50 to $125 per month. The suggested support levels are based upon the total cost of what it takes to run the synagogue divided by the total number of members. If the suggested support level is more than you can afford, you can speak confidentially with our financial secretary or simply write on the Brit form the amount that you are able to pay.

10. I am thinking about converting to Judaism. Would I be the only member who wasn’t born Jewish?

A number of our members have converted to Judaism, including many of our board and committee members. You will fit right in! For more about the conversion process at Or Ami, you can check out this page.

11. I am single or have a partner who would never set foot in a synagogue. Would I fit in at Or Ami?

Yes, Or Ami is a community for individuals as well as families. Many single members and married members whose spouses are allergic to synagogues regularly attend events at Or Ami. You won’t be the only one. There will be plenty of people to sit with and talk to if you come by yourself.

12. Do you have a Sisterhood or Brotherhood?

We do not have a Sisterhood or Brotherhood, but we do provide many opportunities for socializing and community service, which are the main things that Sisterhoods and Brotherhoods do. For example, we have a group that meets to socialize at pubs called Beer Ami, as well as a book club, new crafting group, and many fun social events throughout the year. If you are interested in community service, you can find a number of ways to get involved with our Social Action Committee.

13. Do you have a synagogue choir?

We do not have a choir. However, those who love to sing will quite enjoy singing along with our rabbi, songleader, and numerous congregants with lovely singing voices.


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