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On April 29, 2021, leadership from Temple Rodeph Torah (TRT), Marlboro and Temple Shaari Emeth (TSE), Manalapan, announced intentions to integrate the two congregations. This is exciting news for both, who have much in common, from a hearty embrace of creative and musical worship to a passion for adult learning. 

By coming together, the synagogues have come to see the potential for some amazing synergies, particularly in the areas of social justice and religious school, a uniquely warm worship style and a committed core of discerning adult learners. We use the same prayer book, have similar worship styles, and support a strong commitment for the Jewish education of our children. Also, it makes practical and financial sense for TRT to join with TSE, given the temple’s location and sound fiscal health.  TRT will bring the proceeds from the sale of the TRT building to TSE, which will help to guarantee a healthy future of our joined community.

Simply put, chemistry, shared Reform Jewish values, and the potential for a healthy and robust match are all there. 

Leadership from both congregations have been working together for the last few weeks to define and create a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the partnership.  It’s a pre-Ketubah of sorts which enumerates many, but not all, of the details of a more formal future agreement.  A version is available for your inspection by request. Some key points are enumerated below.

We will continue to learn and grow together.  And as you can imagine, there’s lots to do ahead.  We do so in the deeply held belief that Temple Rodeph Torah and Temple Shaari Emeth can make beautiful music together.

To further improve our communications, we will be conducting multiple town hall sessions, designed to allow members with different schedules to attend. Dates and times for each congregation are available here.

Decision Making Process Steps:

  1. The Letter of Intent has been approved by the Boards of Trustees of each Temple.
  2. You are invited to town hall meetings to learn more about the possibility ahead.
  3. You will have an opportunity to vote to approve pursuing integration negotiations.
  4. Negotiations will take place and a term sheet for a merger plan will be created, which will require Board of Trustees approval.


Following are a few key points we have been working on together:

  • Rabbi Panken and Cantor Wally will remain as the clergy of TSE.  All existing staff will remain in their positions at TSE.
  • TSE will cover TRT’s Clergy, educational, and operating needs until the integration is final. TRT will pay TSE the cost of this support during this interim time period.
  • It is recognized that the sacred objects/art/recognition boards of both Temples will be honored in the integrated synagogue.
  • TRT Religious School and B’nai Mitzvah students, K-12, will be integrated into TSE’s Religious School.
  • TRT’s existing employment contracts will be honored.
  • TRT members in good standing will be offered a dues incentive with no new building fund obligation to become members of TSE; a typical practice in communities that integrate.
  • TRT will have proportionate representation in governance.


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Wed, September 27 2023 12 Tishrei 5784