Rakefet Synagogue Office Software
Frequently Asked Questions about Synagogue Software and
Rakefet for Windows

Q: What exactly could synagogue software do for our congregation?
A: All packages perform at least two major functions: they maintain a membership database of names, addresses and personal data, and they provide some form of tracking and billing of members' financial obligations.  As programs become more sophisticated, they include more elaborate data management and financial functions.  For example, you will find yahrzeit tracking and notification, religious school functions, general ledger, budget, and other accounting functions, check writing and so forth.  Some systems even include programs for mail merge, high holy days seating, Jewish calendar conversion, payroll, resource scheduling, ad inf.  A good system will shorten the time spent on clerical work, reduce errors and improve financial control, and enable you to provide more membership services.

Q: Can't we use general-purpose database and accounting software to do these things?
A: In principle, yes; but in practice, it's too complicated and awkward.  General-purpose database programs are extremely hard for non-specialists to use except for the most basic card-index type of filing.  Synagogue management requires multiple linked files, which puts it outside of this category.  Accounting programs are usually intended for businesses, and have too many of the wrong features.  They are also difficult to integrate with the membership database.  Some functions, like yahrzeit notification or tax receipts, require special programming.

Q: How much does it cost to computerize?
A: A high-quality Microsoft Windows compatible computer with a monitor and printer can be purchased today for less than $1000.  Our state-of-the-art program, Rakefet for Windows, costs $995 (USD).  You can pay more for a computer, and a great deal more for a synagogue management package, but we don't think you need to.

Q: How can your program be so much less expensive than the others and still be any good?
A: We have a low-overhead business model, and we sell far more programs than our competitors.

Q. Is Rakefet for Windows only usable in the United States?
A: No!  We have users in Canada, the UK, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Hong Kong, Belgium, and France.  Although it is an English-language program, it handles date, currency, address, and telephone number formats for all of the above and others. For UK users, we've provided special reports for reclaiming tax payments under Deeds of Covenant and Gift Aid.

Q: How about ease of use?
A: Rakefet for Windows works just like all Microsoft Windows programs, so if you are familiar with Windows, you already have a head start using Rakefet.  And we've built our program on the experience of the hundreds of synagogues worldwide who have been using Rakefet since 1989.  The complete user manual is available in a context-sensitive Help file on your computer.

Q: What versions of Windows does Rakefet support?
A: Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000,  XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Q: What network systems do Rakefet support?
A: Since Rakefet has a file-server architecture, any local-area network that supports file sharing will work.  Peer-to-peer MS networking, NT or XP server, Novell, and others all work with Rakefet.

Q: What if we need help using Rakefet?
A: Technical support after May 2013 will be provided by Rakefet Unlimited Support Help (RUSH).

Q: What if we need special features?
A: Rakefet development is based on input from our users.  We welcome suggestions from prospective users as well.  Features that we judge to be relevant to a significant number of users will be added to forthcoming versions of the program.  We cannot, however, create customized versions for particular users.

Q: How often is the program updated?
A: Major upgrades are released once a year and sent to all users with current maintenance agreements.  Intermediate upgrades can be downloaded from this Web site every few weeks.

Q: How much does the Maintenance Agreement cost?
A: Transparent Software will stop selling maintenance contracts for Rakefet on May 31, 2013. Call Rakefet Unlimited Support Help (RUSH) for help after that date..

Q: We already have a computerized database. Do we have to re-enter all of our information?
A: Probably not.  Most database programs can create a file in a form that can be used to create an initial Rakefet membership file.  Usually a combination of automatic importing and manual data entry is used to get started.

Q: Does Rakefet interface with other programs such as word processors and spreadsheets?
A: All of Rakefet's reports can be exported as RTF (Rich Text Format) files which can be read by major word processors, or CSV (Comma Separated Values) which can be read by spreadsheet programs.

Q: How can we protect our data against unauthorized access?
A:  The basic program includes support for separate passwords for database and financial information.  The extra-cost Security / Audit Option allows for individual ID's and passwords for each user, and the ability to assign customized access privileges to them.  There is also an Audit Report that tracks every change, addition, or deletion to the database or financial system by user ID, date and time.

Q: How do we get in touch with you?
A: Existing Rakefet users with active maintenance contracts can call (559) 226-5147 or click here to Send E-mail. To purchase Rakefet, activate options or purchase a new maintenance contract, please contact Rakefet Unlimited Support Help (RUSH).

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