EBMC AND EMS MERGER PROPOSAL REPORT – SUMMARY 9 JUNE 2021

Since autumn 2020, a Merger Team comprised of members from EBMC and EMS have been

considering whether the communities should take steps in respect of a proposed merger

between both communities. Between March and April 2021, members from both communities

formed teams to consider seven of the areas set out below. Matters related to the governance

of a merged community have also been considered by the Merger Team. The enclosed report

sets out the findings of those teams in respect of all eight areas. This summary is necessarily

brief and very high level, and we recommend you consider the report in full. It contains

considerable detail and represents a significant amount of time, effort and dedication from a

number of members of both communities to whom we are extremely grateful. However, for

ease, a summary of each team’s findings is set out below.

 

1. Administration

The Administration Team has created a detailed process inventory which sets out the key

processes in both communities.

One of the key challenges would be creating a merged database of both communities. The

Administration Team has already started exploring viable database providers, and if a merger

is agreed, would take further steps to implement the integration of the databases, which may

require an external, expert report.

EMS already has a full-time administrator, whereas EBMC has relied on community

volunteers.

 

2. Demography

The Demography Team considered the current location and age distribution of members of

both communities. A range of external data sources, including analysis of the 2011 census by

the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and the location of Jewish schools, were also

considered.

 

The Demography Team concluded that any merged community shul should be in

Borehamwood, though noted that it would be important to take account of and provide services

and a minyan for, Shomrei Shabbat members of EMS who live in Edgware.

The Demography Team also considered the conceptual and physical aspects of a new shul

building. Their recommendations are set out in the report and focus on encouraging

involvement in the community and providing a space where all are welcome and able to attend.

 

3. Education

The Education Team concluded that EBMC has a strong offering for children and young

families, (including a successful Bnei Mitzvah programme) and EMS has a strong offering in

adult education (including ‘Zoomfest’ and weekly classes with Rabbi Danny). The Education

Team concluded that being able to combine these offerings would be a source of strength for a

merged community and that as a larger community, we would be in a better position to offer

various services and attract volunteers to offer them.

 

Looking to the future, the Education Team considered the possibility of a merged community working with NOAM and launching a Cheder if there were sufficient numbers of children and teachers.

 

4. Fees and Finance

Currently, EMS fees are £958 per family and EBMC fees are £552 per family, which the Fees

and Finance Team agreed was too low, regardless of whether a merger takes place. The team

considers comparator fees at other local communities.

The Fees and Finance Team proposed that if a merger took place, new members would pay the

current EMS fees and pre-existing EBMC members’ fees would gradually increase over

the course of three years to the same level as EMS fees.

The fee structure will be adapted to types of membership and the Fees and Finance Team

proposed a ‘hero rate’ to encourage those who can afford to pay more to do so voluntarily.

No potential members would be refused membership for financial reasons, and measures would

be put in place to assist them where necessary.

 

5. Governance (constitutional matters)

This section of the report is at a preliminary stage. The report sets out current differences in the

constitutional documents for both communities and identifies points that will need to be worked

on in advance of a merger. Broadly speaking, the intention is to use an adapted version of EMS’

Articles of Association as the key constitutional document for a merged community. Further

information in relation to Governance will be provided at a later date.

 

6. Minhag (Religious Practise)

The Minhag Team found that the minhag in both communities was remarkably similar but

identified some differences which, quite naturally, were focused on during the meetings. The

report sets out a summary of key areas, the minhag in each community and differences, possible solutions and comments from Rabbi Danny.

 

7. Mission, Vision and Values

The Team found that there were differences between the communities, but with regard to ethos,

culture and vision, there is a shared view. The demographics show that the two shuls

have a multi-generational community and a big current/potential future membership base. As

part of a merger, it is important that a satellite community in Edgware is created for those

members of EMS who do not travel on Shabbat.

 

8. Welfare

The Welfare Team concluded that the communities have many things in common and the goals

and aspirations of the communities are aligned on many issues. The welfare of members would

be at the forefront of activities as a proposed joint community. The team’s intention was to

grow the welfare team activities and galvanise and put into action some additional plans so that

the offerings are more aligned.

For a copy of the full report please click on the button below: