2013-05-24 / Front Page

Beth El, Beth Judah Merger Proposal Moves Another Step Forward

By Shy Kramer
Jewish Times Publisher


Liz DeShields Liz DeShields For more than a year the two Conservative synagogues in our community have considered the possibility of merging into one congregation. Congregation Beth Judah in Ventnor and Beth El Synagogue in Margate – just one mile apart – have decided to examine all the factors that have to be reviewed and studied in order to accomplish such a consolidation plan.

A steering committee was formed at each synagogue to appoint seven sub-committees to analyze all the matters that would be influenced by a single merged congregation.

Committees were appointed to review the finances, governance, clergy, buildings, schools and all the various matters that would be part of a combined single unit.

On Sunday, May 19, both congregations met simultaneously at their respective synagogue buildings for a town-hall type gathering in order to hear the results of the seven committees and to ask questions that may have to be considered.


Barney Linn Barney Linn Barney Linn, president of Congregation Beth Judah and co- chair of the steering committee, said he was “encouraged by the positive response towards merging – and it was in the best interest of both congregations and for our community.” Linn continued: “A successful merger will open up more potential” in allowing programs and events that otherwise could not possibly be considered.

Liz DeShields, vice-president of Beth El Synagogue and co- chair of the steering committee, said “Beth El had a large turnout of interested congregants – it was wonderful to see so many members being passionate and emotional about such matters regarding Conservative Judaism.”

The proposed plan, which was approved by both Boards of Trustees, would encompass the move to the present Beth Judah building in Ventnor, which is a newer edifice with a larger sanctuary and school facilities and a greater parking area.

Both sets of clergy, Rabbi Aaron Krauss and Rabbi Aaron Gaber, and both cantors, Cantor Ralph Goren and Hazzan Jeffrey S. Myers, would be retained and the dues structure – though presently different at each institution – would remain the same as they now are at least for the first year of the merged congregations.

The new board of trustees will consist of 30 members – 15 from each congregation – and the executive committee will total eight members – four from each synagogue.

The new joint boards will decide many other matters concerning the name of the new institution, memorabilia and factors still unrealized.

The final vote on the merger plan will be taken simultaneously on Sunday, June 2, 2013, and provisions have been arranged for a secret “in person” vote as well as an evote on the Internet or by standard mail

Details regarding voting may be had by calling either synagogue. .

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