The proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our congregations about our potential merger was distributed to both congregations. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is an agreement between two or more parties outlined in a formal document. It is not legally binding but signals the willingness of the parties to move forward with a common line of action. The MOU content was solidified after numerous conversations with legal counsel, Board members, and congregants.

Congregation Or Chadash has established a mail-in ballot voting process which will culminate with counting votes publicly on Sunday, February 9th beginning at 12:30 p.m. Temple Emanu-El will have a special Congregational Meeting on the same day, February 9th, at which attendees will vote in person, or by phone or email during that same time period. We will notify both congregations about the results as soon as possible after the counting on Sunday, February 9th.

This is what your vote this coming Sunday means:

A YES vote means: you approve the proposed MOU as a framework for the Board of Directors to continue working toward a merger of the two congregations. If the MOU is approved, we will schedule another vote on a specific Plan of Merger per current Arizona Law. The Plan of Merger will include greater details than the proposed MOU.

A NO vote means: you do not approve the proposed MOU and work toward a merger will be suspended and we will revisit plans for the future of Temple Emanu-El. We will consider alternative strategies for long-term survival.

Continuing from last week’s report, we want to answer a couple more frequently asked questions.

  1. Where would our new congregation be located?
    The financially feasible choice is to use the Temple Emanu-El location at 225 N. Country Club. Other possibilities were thoroughly investigated, including the construction of a new synagogue. However, the financial and facilities task forces concluded that using the structure already in existence that can accommodate the most families is best. In the event of a merger, Or Chadash’s building could be put up for sale, but it is not currently on the market.
  2. Who was involved in the process of merging our congregations?
    Each synagogue’s Board assembled a team of congregants called Ambassadors, as well as a set of Task Forces involving additional members of each congregation. These Task Forces assessed the feasibility as well as potential challenges to merging in areas such as joint ritual and worship, finance, governance, facilities, religious school, etc. Each Board approved actions to follow-up on the recommendations of these task forces and to take measures to allow for the possibility of merging. Each member/family in good standing at both institutions is eligible to cast a vote as to whether the two congregations should merge (this Sunday, February 9th!!).

We are still in the process of determining if the congregations should merge. To stay up-to-date, please view these weekly Ambassadors reports and each of the Task Forces reports at both congregation’s websites.

The results of your vote will be announced in this column next week. Please stay connected to find out more about the next steps in our ongoing conversation. And please feel free to share your thoughts and comments by writing to our shared email account at JewishTucson@gmail.com.