Membership for Shira for 2019/20 has now opened.
Membership for the 2019/20 year is the same as for 2018/9. We are also offering an out of town membership in 2019/20 for people who don’t live in Melbourne but will be in Melbourne for the holidays.
Adults: $405 plus $25 security levy
First time adult members: $260 plus $25 security levy
Full time students (13+): $140
Children (under 13): $85
Children attending High Holiday children's programs only: 1 child: $36; two or more children in same household: $55
New member discount
To encourage people who have been sitting on the fence about joining Shira we are offering a discounted adult membership price of $260 plus security levy in the lead up to the High Holidays for first time members.
Households taking membership for three or more children/students can apply the promotional code FAMILY for an 8% reduction on your family's total membership. This is not available for people using the new member discount or for families taking the children's High Holiday only program option which already has a discount for more than one child.
Children's programs - enrollment required
ALL children must be enrolled to attend programs at Shira, to ensure the quality and safety of our children's programs. We have created a very fair pricing option for children attending only on high holidays. If your child attends Shira programs through the year please take the regular child membership so that we can continue to provide weekly services.
If financial circumstances make membership difficult, please contact us to discuss alternative payment arrangements.
We always receive lots of questions around membership and the Yamim Noraim. Read on to find our answers to some of the most common things we're asked.
I loved Shira's chazzanim last year. Any chance they will be back this year?
We have great news! Talia Lakritz and Micah Sapir, whose voices moved, delighted and inspired us last year, will be joining us once more to lead services for the Yamim Noraim. Hear them again in this video.
Shira is the only shule in Melbourne where services are led throughout by both a chazzanit (leader who is a woman) and chazzan (leader who is a man) providing both a unique musical experience and a very egalitarian feeling.
What's new for Shira this year?
Every year we strive to create services and events that are original and innovative, and we're excited to share our programming with you as it unfolds over the coming year. We are employing a professional administrator to run the shule more efficiently and better identify and meet members' needs.
On a lighter note, we’ll be offering members some Shira swag as a small thank you for supporting our unique and dynamic community. Our Shira tote bags will come in three different designs and we trust that you'll find them handy – whether for schlepping your machzor, tallit or some snacks for the kids. More to follow on how you can collect yours.
Why do I need to take membership?
Membership enables you to attend services at Shira for the High Holidays and throughout the year, and ensures that the shule has the resources to function for the whole year. About 70% of membership revenue is spent on the costs of the high holidays and rent for the shule premises.
At Shira we understand that some people choose to come to shule once a week and some come twice a year, and we want to be able to keep offering the experience to people however frequently they attend. To do that, we need to run the shule through the year – Shira is a real shule, not a ‘pop up’ community, and couldn’t offer what we do if we were to come together only for the High Holidays.
What makes Shira special?
Shira offers a refreshingly relevant approach to shule services that comes from actively grappling with the tensions between tradition and modern life. We understand that Orthodox settings can feel alienating and we continue to look for greater opportunities for women through leading parts of the service, teaching and actively supporting Orthodox rabbinical programs for women. Shira is the only shule in Melbourne to provide leadership opportunities for women with Orthodox smicha or in rabbinical training programs. And while we are pleased that many Orthodox shules have become more open to listening to the needs of queer Jews, we believe that tolerance is nowhere near enough and that Orthodoxy has to find ways to celebrate and support the life choices of the Jewish LGBTIQ+ community.
We also know that some responses to contemporary challenges are too quick to reject practices that go to the heart of Jewish life. Shira offers a model of boldly seeking change, while holding onto tradition and Orthodox sensibilities This is ever more important given the threats to modern Orthodoxy and the growing divide between Orthodox and Progressive Judaism.
Shira is not a big shule. That doesn't stop us from punching above our weight in innovation, programming and in leading and hosting important conversations about Jewish life, Israel and contemporary concerns. We think the Melbourne community is enriched and sometimes challenged by Shira, and we are grateful for your support in keeping this special and important community alive and vocal.
Why no rabbi?
Shira is proudly a lay-led community where shule is not a spectator activity – every member is invited to participate in shule life by giving a Dvar Torah, reading Torah, Haftorah or megilla and leading services. Our approach to Torah study combines a commitment to serious learning with critical and creative approaches.
What else is on offer through the year?
Our weekly shabbat morning services include interesting and diverse Divrei Torah, and we run two separate children’s programs each week and on all chagim.
We continue to provide exciting and challenging events and speakers for our members and the broader community, as well as communal megillah readings followed by strong discussions or warm celebrations.
Since last Rosh Hashana, we have been delighted to celebrate life events including bar and bat mitzvahs, baby namings and pre-marriage call ups for 15 families, and another 20 people have chosen to mark birthdays, bat/bar mitzvah anniversaries or other big events in their lives with a call up or kiddush at Shira. People choose to celebrate their life event at Shira because it is welcoming and the whole family can be more involved in a service that still feels heimish, traditional and complete.
We also run a Bnei Mitzvah program which includes components of Jewish history, tradition and practice, and social justice. The program encourages participants to engage with Jewish ideas, ask big questions and develop strong Jewish identities, in a fun and inclusive setting.