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Dear Members and Friends of Congregation Ohav Emeth,

You may be aware that in 2018, Congregation Ohav Emeth moved our membership system to a new hosting application, ShulCloud, a system that is used by hundreds of synagogues. This system, along with hosting our new website (https://www.ohavemeth.org), provides a great way to manage your account with the shul by viewing your account online and paying your obligations with a credit or debit card.

However, there has been some confusion about how people can manage and pay their accounts, so I am sending a "cheat sheet" to help you. Not only should this make using the system easier, but make it more accurate and help the office keep current. Please review this and print if you need to. Also, this "cheat sheet" can also be found on the website under the "Help" menu item, and updates and corrections will be made when needed.

Of necessity, this is long but we hope will help clarify any difficulties you may have.

Your account:

  • LOGGING IN: Everyone who has financial dealings with the shul, either as a member or as a nonmember, has an account in ShulCloud. In order to view your account, you must log in, and in order to do that, you must have requested access from me as system administrator ( sysadmin@ohavemeth.org). Most of you have already done that; if you haven't, just drop me an email at that address. I will activate your email address as your login/username, and you will receive an email from the system that will allow you to set your password. So far, we have only done this for members. If you are not a member but have frequent financial dealings with the shul, we can give you access as well. The password should be 8 or more alphanumeric characters and not easily guessable. Please do not click on the Google icon for security, even though it is offered as an option, rather set your unique password.
  • PASSWORD RESET: If you forget your password, or you mess up setting it, it is easy to set a new one. Just click on the "Login" dropdown and then on the "Forgot Password" link and follow the instructions.
  • FINANCIAL ACCOUNT: Once you are logged in, then to review your financial account, click on the menu item, My Account, and then My Billing. You can view your transactions for any time period you choose by using the date range. The transaction history goes back several years. This is not a Tax Statement. The tax statement takes many additional factors into consideration. Tax statements will be sent from the system after the end of the tax year and/or on request.
  • PERSONAL ACCOUNT: To edit your individual profile information, click on My Account and then My Profile and then view & edit your profile. You may set your Hebrew name, date of birth, personal and business contact info, yahrzeits, etc. Hebrew names can be entered in the English alphabet, or Hebrew alphabet via the pop-up keyboard. And consider updating the information on your minor children in order to help the shul serve your family better.

Payments:

  • CHECKS, CASH, STOCK, IRA DISTRIBUTIONS, UNITED WAY, THIRD PARTIES, ETC.: The shul still accepts old-fashioned payments! Just remember to memo checks and to document other payments so that the office knows what you are paying for. And if the check is not coming from your personal account, please have the issuer indicate that it is targeted for your account. These payments will be applied to your account by the office, so will have some time delay. Or ....
  • ONLINE PAYMENTS TOWARDS YOUR ACCOUNT DIRECTLY: Individuals that are logged in may either pay down a balance consisting of charged already posted, or to make a pledge accompanied by a payment, and have it apply directly and instantaneously to their account. When you are about to make a payment, in order to determine if the item has already been charged against your account, check your account first. In Congregation Ohav Emeth, this is likely to have happened for items such as Aliyot-Kibbudim, Bowl-A-Thon, Kol Nidre Appeal, and other fundraisers where the verbal pledge is reported to the office for posting to your account, and typically precedes the payment. Such online payments and charges are automatically applied to the appropriate account.

When paying down your balance, you will have an opportunity to select which open line items to pay, described below.

  • OTHER ONLINE PAYMENTS: Members, and nonmembers with online accounts, are strongly encouraged to log in before making payments. This is because individuals that are not logged in are not able to pay down a balance, only to make a paid pledge. Moreover, individuals making such payments, called "public" payments, do not automatically get the payments and charges applied to their account. As with checks, these will need to be processed manually in the office. So if the office has charged you for, say, an aliyah pledge, and you make a public payment of that aliyah pledge, then once the office figures out that the payment is from you and is manually applied to your account, your account will have been charged twice, and the office must delete one charge manually. And the office may or may not spot it.
  • SINGLE PAYMENTS:To pay down a balance in a single shot (again, while logged in), choose the menu Donate and then the submenu Payment. If you owe money, the amount will be shown, along with a "radio button"§ to select whether to pay down vs. donate. If you choose to pay down, the amount will default to a full balance payment, but you can type over the default amount. If you are making a partial payment, you will also be able to select which unpaid line items to pay against, and how much to each.

For a single payment, leave the "Pay this amount" set to "Once Now" and then click "Continue to Payment" to proceed to the PayPal page. NOTE: The shul uses PayPal as a payment gateway to talk to your credit card company but does not require you to have a PayPal account to make a single payment. The PayPal page is confusing and would lead you to believe otherwise. So on the PayPal page, if you do not have a PayPal account or don't want to pay with it, just scroll down to the bottom and click on the "Pay with Debit or Credit Card" button. The receipt will appear as if it came from PayPal, but it does not. It should appear on your credit card statement and/or credit card website.

Note that the website offers you the option to defray the transaction cost of the shul's use of PayPal. This is optional, but we hope you choose to add the small percentage to your payment.

Choosing to make an unpledged donation is described below.

  • RECURRING PAYMENTS: If you would like to pay down your balance or make a donation over time in a series of payments, you may do that too. Instead of "Once Now" in the previous step, after you have entered the total amount in the appropriate field, select the appropriate dropdown item e.g. "In 12 payments of $100" and then select the frequency and start date. In order to use this option, you must have a PayPal account and log into it on the PayPal page, as PayPal will manage the payments over time. Once you do this, you do not have to come back to this page, the payments will happen automatically. If you want to interrupt these payments, you must log into PayPal on your own to do so.
  • NEW DONATIONS:You may also make a true standalone new donation (i.e. pledge-with-payment) online, for example to the Tzedakah Fund, Chaplaincy Fund, or in commemoration of a Yahrzeit. To do this, choose the radio button option "Payment is a donation" instead on the Payment page and make sure you choose the appropriate charge Type from the dropdown. Put as much information in the Payment Notes field as you need for your records, and/or for the shul's needs. NOTE: When making a donation, please avoid selecting Type of NON-SPECIFIC DONATION if it is really for something more specific, or if it is to pay down a balance. If you believe a charge type is missing from the dropdown, please let me know.

Please do not "bundle" donations of multiple types, i.e. a donation to commemorate a Yahrzeit and a donation to the Tzedakah Fund.

  • DUES AND ASSESSMENTS: Dues, Building Assessment, and Eruv Fund are assessed and are not considered "donations" in ShulCloud (though they are tax-deductible). Therefore, you cannot choose to make these as donations.
  • PREPAYMENT: Many people wish to prepay part or all of their expected obligations, typically in December of the current year for the coming year. If you have no current obligations, you will not be given the option to pay towards your future balance online; instead, if you wish to make such a payment online, select PREPAYMENT OF OBLIGATIONS as the Charge Type. It will not show as a credit on your account until the Administrator makes a manual adjustment on your account. Please let the office or the administrator know if you do this.
  • SECRETARY AS PROXY: The secretary in the office has a limited ability to log into your account when you cannot, and make payments on your credit card if you read her your credit card information over the phone. Please do not put credit / debit card information in email, as this constitutes a security violation.

Forms:

  • Many of the shul's events and fundraisers, such as High Holiday seats, dinners, etc. may have a form online that can be used as an alternative to the paper form. These forms will also post charges and payments automatically to your account. In the future, we will notify the membership in advance when such a form should be used and where it is. These forms will help reduce or eliminate manual effort involved in billing, payments, and other aspects of managing these functions.

Billing:

  • Statements are periodically sent to you; they are sent via email, unless you have specifically requested that we do not, or if we do not have an email address for at least one of the householders, in which case you will receive snail mail. We plan to make these more frequent and more regular.
  • Dues and other assessments are posted early in the calendar year, or when a person or family joins or changes their membership type or status.
  • If you have any questions on or corrections to the payments and/or charges on your account, please contact me as administrator, and if necessary, I will forward to the appropriate person for resolution.

Other notes about the website:

  • Website access: The shul's website is accessible to all, and on any browser. Aside from the purpose described above, it serves as a source of information to the public and to prospective members. One does not need to log in in order to view any such content.
  • Website content: website content is managed by committee. Laini Weitz is responsible for gathering and posting the majority of the dynamic content, along with Tom Goldstein. Steve Stein is responsible for the month-at-a-view calendar (menu item Calendar) in consultation with Neal Ginsberg. We try to keep all versions of the davening and other times in sync, including the display board in the lobby, which is maintained by Ricki Stern and is not connected to ShulCloud. For any issues with the content, please contact us at webmaster@ohavemeth.org and be as specific as to your concern as possible.
  • Website viewing: the website is best viewed on a desktop or laptop computer, or on a tablet. It may be viewed on a smart phone, but viewing on a small device is not optimal, as we have not purchased that customization package from ShulCloud.

Other problems / questions:

  • If you have trouble using any of these functions, or don't have an online account and would like one, please contact me at sysadmin@ohavemeth.org.

Steve Stein, System Administrator

§ A radio button is a series of two or more circle buttons, only one of which may be selected at a time. Selecting one automatically deselects the one that is currently selected. Typical fields that might use radio buttons are Marital Status and Membership Category.




 

Thu, November 14 2019 16 Cheshvan 5780