Bushey Synagogue has taken a novel approach to supporting the local eruv by agreeing a sponsorship deal with a nearby hotel.
The religious boundary will henceforth be known as the Bushey Eruv sponsored by Holiday Inn London Elstree.
Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, the shul’s New York-born minister, said the deal, initially for three months, reflected the American approach of selling naming rights to religious activities.
“We were looking at the American model of funding and saw a great opportunity,” he told the JC. “We can’t rely exclusively on membership fees, even in a thriving community like ours.
“We are blessed that Bushey is an attractive area for many people but sometimes we need to think outside the box. We consider the way the American communities do things to be ahead of us in terms of fundraising.”
Although the shul is not disclosing the sum involved, Rabbi Feldman said it would go “a long way” towards paying for the eruv’s upkeep.
The wires and 5.5 metre-high steel poles are checked each Friday and Sunday and outside contractors are called out for repairs.
“If you get a bad winter it might get damaged more often,” the rabbi explained. “And it’s difficult to anticipate how much it will cost. But this will help.”
For its part, the hotel sees the partnership as a means to promote it as a simchah venue.
“We used to have a lot of bar- and batmitzvahs but it’s dwindled a bit in the last few years,” reported Kay Beaver, sales manager at the Holiday Inn.
“I work with a lot of Jewish events companies who tell me they used to do a lot of work here.
“We just thought this was a good way of letting people know we’re still here. And, of course, we wanted to thank the local Jewish community for its support over the years.”