Prepare for a shock: shul fees are slashed

By Jay Grenby, April 11, 2008
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A pleasant surprise awaits the 813 members of the Western Marble Arch Synagogue — their subscriptions have been slashed.

Almost 25 per cent has been knocked off full fees for male congregants at the West End shul, which range between £330 and £1,165 according to a complex pricing structure determined largely by seat position. Younger members do even better, with discounts of 85 per cent for under-21s and a half-price offer for those between 21 and 35.

In addition, new members will receive a 50 per cent discount on the first year’s subscription, while levies for security, education and building are to be abolished.

Synagogue treasurer Henry Ejdelbaum attributed the price cuts to prudent management which has trimmed £120,000 off expenditure.

“We have always suffered from the reputation of being an expensive synagogue to join,” he told the JC. “But the new fee structure, and especially the support we are offering to younger members, shows that this is no longer the case.

“Although this is predominantly an ageing congregation, about a quarter of our members are under the age of 35 and they will benefit considerably from the new system.”

Economies had started “with small things, like sending an email instead of a letter, moving on to larger savings — ensuring we dealt with the right suppliers, paying bills promptly to secure bigger discounts, dealing with our members more efficiently and purchasing only what we needed instead of what we wanted.”

Mr Ejdelbaum runs a large accountancy, finance and property business “and simply translated the management skills I employ, without ever forgetting, of course, that it is a membership organisation.”

The board hopes the cuts will attract some of the young professionals living in and around the West End.

Last updated: 10:59am, July 8 2009