With the official merger of the Jewish federations of Greater Middlesex and Monmouth counties only two days away, leaders are taking part in many discussions on how to integrate both federations into one and how to approach joint programming.
And while it’s not yet known what the new federation will be called, a process is under way to determine what the new name will be, and leaders expect to make an announcement within weeks.
“We will be taking a strategic approach to integrating programming, volunteers, and staff,” said Monmouth executive director Keith Krivitzky, who will become CEO of the new federation. Middlesex executive director Susan Antman will be senior executive vice president. Krivitzky added that there will likely be a series of announcements after a scheduled Jan. 15 board meeting. “It’s not like ‘poof!’ — you unwrap the box and everything is in place,” he explained. “The actual merger will take months, if not years.”
For now, he said, the two federations will operate on parallel paths with separate budgets and many separate programs as they work over time to integrate the two. Middlesex’s fiscal year ends June 30 while Monmouth’s is about to end on Dec. 31.
Because of the larger geographic area the new entity will cover, both federations’ headquarters will remain open: the South River office owned by Middlesex — which will be the new federation’s “hub” — and Monmouth’s rented office in Holmdel. Krivitzky said professional staff will rotate between the two offices, with each spending two days in one office and three in another each week. Staff meetings will alternate between offices; a central phone system connecting both will be installed.
“We have a planned staffing structure and organizational chart for the new federation, but specific staffing changes have not yet been announced,” said Krivitzky.
Antman said combining the organizations will help “leverage our strengths and resources…to respond to the broad community challenges” that are occurring not only locally, but across the country, “like declining identification and affiliation with the Jewish community….”
“We’ll be able to focus in a more targeted, strategic way,” she said.
Antman said more resources will also be applied to fund-raising, thus providing more money for programming — although the large distance from the northern edge of Middlesex to the southern border of Monmouth will necessitate some federation programs being held in two locations.
Middlesex president Mitch Frumkin, who is taking over as president of the combined federation, noted that the two sides have been working together for about two years.
“It’s going to be a huge success,” he predicted. “Everything we’ve talked about is actually better than we anticipated. We’ve taken the best of Middlesex and Monmouth and combined it.”
Current Monmouth president Sheryl Grutman said, “The merger will benefit both communities to help all the Jews in both. With a larger number we make a bigger impact.”