New Partnership Aims to Raise Membership Levels

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The Kaiserman JCC and Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Wynnewood are joining forces in hopes of boosting membership.

The Kaiserman JCC and Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Wynnewood are partnering to offer a membership promotion in the hopes that if people belong to one institution, they will also join the other.

The announcement that any member of the Conservative synagogue on the Main Line could get a free three-month trial membership at the nearby JCC initially caused a stir in the community, with some concerned that the promotion excluded other synagogues.


But Kaiserman JCC director Beth Segal said the partnership is just the first in what she hopes will be a series of partnerships with other area synagogues that will help build memberships for both the JCC and synagogues.

“Synagogue memberships can be expensive; JCC dues can be costly, so some people have to pick and choose,” said Segal. “We said, ‘We should offer something together to make it easier to have people experience congregational life and the JCC.”

Segal said they do not intend to only have such a promotion with Beth Hillel-Beth El and that JCC leaders are working with other synagogues to build partnerships. The idea started when members of Beth Hillel-Beth El approached the JCC about holding Havdalah services at the center’s new outdoor pool.

Since announcing the promotion, “We have had other people who said, ‘Can our congregation get in on this?’ and of course we said ‘Yes,’ ” said Segal.

JCC officials said in hindsight, they should have informed other synagogues in advance of advertising the first partnership with Beth Hillel-Beth El so as not to make it seem they were favoring one synagogue. Officials also said they plan to tailor future agreements with other area synagogues to the synagogues’ specific needs.

Beth Hillel-Beth El director Ken Krivitzky compared the promotion to the annual High Holiday Wine Tasting sponsored by Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and other organizations where people who are new to the area or not affiliated with a synagogue can get free or discounted High Holiday tickets.

“In my mind, this is an offshoot of this type of activity,” said Krivitzky. He said the synagogue had about five families who belong to the JCC pick up free High Holiday tickets as a result of the promotion.

“We were thinking about how do we welcome people? How do we make sure that they’re connected and keep getting more involved in the Jewish community?”
 

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