The financial meltdown has left many congregants unable to pay annual dues, according to rabbis in New York, Detroit and around the United States. Those fees cover most of a synagogue's budget.
In states hardest hit by the recession, rabbis said that as many as a quarter of their members can't pay. Some congregants are so embarrassed that they try to quit without saying why.
Synagogue executives have been suspending dues for some members and cutting congregational budgets.
The synagogues are also helping members with programs ranging from free counseling to money to cover their household bills.