Please help encourage ASBEE, BH and YIOM to share the BH campus

Please help encourage ASBEE, BH and YIOM to share the BH campus

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SETH KAUFMAN started this petition to Memphis Jewish Community

                  Memphis Orthodox Secure Synaplex

We urge the leadership of Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth (ASBEE), Baron Hirsch (BH) and Young Israel of Memphis (YIOM) to begin immediate discussions to consolidate all three congregations on the Baron Hirsch campus. The three congregations would maintain their independent governance and clergy. Each congregation would have their own defined areas as well as shared access and responsibility for those areas that are jointly utilized. This new arrangement would generate substantial savings and would help ensure the physical and spiritual security of the Memphis Orthodox Jewish community. We believe this is the best solution for the continuity of the Memphis Orthodox Jewish community. We strongly encourage the leadership and membership of each congregation to put aside any real or perceived differences and focus on our overwhelmingly shared beliefs and practices and the needs of the entire Memphis Orthodox Jewish Community. We encourage members of ASBEE, BH and YIOM and any other concerned Jewish Memphians to sign this petition in support for this endeavor.



Q.        Would my congregation lose its independence?

A.        Each congregation would maintain their own governance and Clergy. Each congregation would have their own defined, independent spaces on the campus for which they would be solely responsible. Shared areas (e.g. social halls, playgrounds, etc.) would be jointly managed and costs would be prorated.

Q.        What are some of the potential cost savings?

A.        Shared costs for upkeep of common areas and facilities (e.g. kitchens and social halls).

Decreased maintenance costs with shared use of staff, resources, utilities.

Ability to purchase better equipment and more effective utilization of staff.

Shared security costs allowing for more/better coverage.

Q.        What about halachic and hashkafa differences?

A.        It is our understanding that YIOM and ASBEE have developed a mechanism to address these issues. We believe this could be expanded to include BH.  The Memphis Va’ad also could serve as a forum where these issues could be discussed. Within this framework, each independent synagogue would maintain the ability to resolve its own internal issues.

Q.        What about funding?

A.        Costs per member for each synagogue should decrease.  Ongoing fund raising would continue by each shul in addition to anticipated joint fundraising efforts.

Q.        Would this compromise the current fundraising efforts of each congregation?

A.        We believe this initiative would increase overall donations. The ability of all three synagogues to focus on their own perceived vested interests as well as those of the entire community could inspire others to contribute as well.  We would hope that no donor who already has committed funds to their individual institutions would renege because of a proposal designed to better ensure the spiritual, financial, and physical security of our community that was approved by each synagogue.

Q.        Would this make us a potentially more attractive “target” for anyone wishing to cause harm?

A.        Unfortunately, each synagogue is a large enough target on its own. Pooling resources would provide many advantages, including a more secure campus structure and resources to have more armed security personnel on campus.

Other Potential Benefits:


Shared, coordinated programming. Pooled funds would enhance our ability to bring in higher quality speakers who may be attracted by a larger audience and fees. In addition, each shul could also have their own speakers and coordinate with each other to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Increased Community Cohesion

The shared facility would encourage increased socialization (especially on Shabbos). We would have the opportunity to establish new relationships as well as rekindle friendships with members of the other shuls whom we rarely see. The increased number of regular attendees in a single location may attract others who rarely come to shul to do so on a more regular basis. Single Memphians of all ages would get the chance to meet and socialize with fellow Jews in a relaxed environment. The elderly from Plough Towers would be able to attend any of the three synagogues.

It is clear that Memphis has not been spared the demographic challenges that face Jews across America. Antisemitism is on the rise. Our society is increasingly divided. It is incumbent upon us as Jews who are committed to continuing our legacy and impacting the world, to focus on what unites us rather than what divides us.

This brief document cannot begin to outline all of the many legitimate and important concerns that people may have about this initiative. We recognize and appreciate the sustained efforts of all of those who have worked so hard to get us to this point. We know that this will require much more work as well as compromise from each of us, as well as from all three congregations. We urge each synagogue to carefully review this proposal. Place a moratorium on any further construction before the decision makers from each synagogue can get together and discuss this. Commit to hiring a neutral, third-party Mediator if we cannot make significant progress within a short, defined, publicly known time period. As we start a new year and face ongoing threats at home and abroad, let’s unite and move forward to implement this initiative as soon as possible. ASBEE, BH and YIOM are crucial institutions that fulfill important, distinct roles not only for their members or Orthodox Jews but for the entire Memphis Jewish Community. We must explore every avenue to help ensure the continuity of each of these important institutions as well as Orthodoxy in Memphis.









0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!