By Brad Segall
ELKINS PARK, Pa. (CBS) – Two Montgomery County synagogues of different denomination have hammered out a unique space sharing agreement, believed to be the first of its kind in the Philadelphia area.
Melrose B’Nai Israel Emanu-El has been in its building in Cheltenham for more than half a century, but an aging and declining congregation forced the Conservative synagogue to start looking for another location. That led to Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park and an agreement to share space that will include their own sanctuary, offices, classrooms and a Kosher kitchen.
“Everything has been moving ahead very smoothly,” Melrose B’Nai Israel Emanu-El co-president Larry Shipper says. “The incredible cooperation from the people at Keneseth Israel. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
In addition to sharing space, the two temples hope to share some programs. To mark the move, the Cheltenham synagogue will hold a Torah procession this evening to its new location followed by a celebration to mark a new chapter in its history.