Beth Jacob to vote Dec. 8 on proposed merger with Beth Abraham

Beth Jacob to vote, December 2010

Beth Jacob Synagogue

The question of whether Beth Jacob and Beth Abraham synagogues will merge will likely be decided on Dec. 8, when Beth Jacob’s congregants are scheduled to vote on the issue.

In October, members of Beth Abraham Synagogue voted in favor of the proposed merger, which would consolidate both congregations into one entity at Beth Abraham’s building.

Beth Abraham, located in Oakwood, is a member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Its services are egalitarian.

Beth Jacob, located in Harrison Township, is not affiliated with a Jewish movement but identifies itself as Traditional in practice, a non-egalitarian movement to the religious left of Orthodoxy but to the right of egalitarian Conservative Judaism. There is mixed seating at Beth Jacob.

In June 2009, the boards of both synagogues approved merger discussions; a merger exploration committee comprising members of both congregations issued its recommendations in May 2010.

The proposed merger calls for egalitarian Conservative worship with some modifications such as an annual Torah reading cycle instead of Beth Abraham’s current triennial cycle. The combined synagogue would also have a new name.

Presidents of the synagogues cited shrinking membership bases and revenue as prime reasons for the merger exploration.

In advance of the Dec. 8 vote, Beth Jacob members voted in November to amend the synagogue’s constitution to allow for absentee ballots.

– Marshall Weiss

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