Shul is slash­ing wed­ding costs

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY LIFE - BY JAY GRENBY

THE WEST­ERN Mar­ble Arch Syn­a­gogue has fol­lowed re­duc­tions in mem­ber­ship fees by slash­ing its charges for wed­ding cer­e­monies.

A new “highly com­pet­i­tive” ba­sic rate for forth­com­ing wed­dings is around £1,000, down from £1,850, and in­cludes se­cu­rity, the ser­vices of the regis­trar and a free year’s mem­ber­ship for the new­ly­weds. The rate also ap­plies to wed­dings pre­vi­ously booked but yet to take place.

Last month, the Cen­tral Lon­don shul an­nounced mas­sive cuts in mem­ber­ship fees — by as much as 50 per cent for those in the 21-35 age group — in a bid to at­tract new and younger mem­bers to an age­ing con­gre­ga­tion.

With its prox­im­ity to top West End ho­tels and good nearby park­ing, the pres­ti­gious Great Cum­ber­land Place syn­a­gogue has long been a pop­u­lar venue for wed­dings and other sim­chahs. An­other at­trac­tion is the po­ten­tial avail­abil­ity, at ad­di­tional charge, of the shul’s min­is­ter and em­i­nent chaz- an, Rabbi Lionel Rosen­feld, “though cou­ples are, of course, wel­come to use their own rabbi or chazan for the cer­e­mony”, ex­plained new ad­min­is­tra­tor Jen­nie Raper­port.

“Al­ready, the num­ber of cou­ples due to get mar­ried here is up on last year and as we get in­quiries and vis­its vir­tu­ally ev­ery week, the fig­ures are sure to in­crease.” Whereas the great ma­jor­ity of wedd i n g s t a k i n g place at West­ern Mar­ble Arch are of cou­ples from out­side the con­gre­ga­tion — of the 17 wed­dings booked for the cur­rent year, only one in­volves a mem­ber’s fam­ily — it is hoped that this latest ini­tia­tive will set more younger peo­ple on the path to per­ma­nent mem­ber­ship.

Is­raeli Am­bas­sador Ron Prosor was a spe­cial guest on Shab­bat, where the con­gre­ga­tion also in­cluded Sir Jonathan and Lady Sacks.

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