Shul scraps burial entry fees for middle-aged


One of Liberal Judaism's largest communities has taken the bold step of scrapping the entrance fee to its burial society for new middle-aged members.

From now, anyone aged between 50 and 69 joining Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue will have the burial society entrance fee waived, potentially saving a couple more than £1,760.

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, senior rabbi at NPLS, said it had been a concern for some time "that the one-off entry fee has been a barrier for those wanting to join our community. Why should others in our faith be prevented from joining the shul of their choice?"

It is common practice for synagogues to charge members who join in mid-life a burial society entrance fee before they start paying regular subscriptions. In some cases, they are able to transfer part of their burial dues from their former community.

A couple both aged 69 who applied to join NPLS would previously have been asked to pay £2,577 – comprising the burial society entrance fee plus the £813 annual household subscription to the synagogue. Annual burial society dues are £40 per adult.

The new policy will run for a six month trial period, during which time new members in the 50-69 category will be entitled to cremation or a burial in a Liberal cemetery. The synagogue will cover the basic cost of a funeral if the person dies during the first year of membership. One couple "who originally inquired about membership in January are both 59 and were delighted to know that there would be no entry fee from September and immediately filled in the membership forms", Rabbi Goldstein reported.

NPLS was following up on "others who have inquired about membership but cited the entry fees as an issue because of the finance or principle".

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive