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New Jersey Federations Agree To Merge

Two Jewish federations in New Jersey are merging in what is being described as the largest federation merger in history.

The United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ, which has about 100 employees, is merging with the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, which has more than a dozen, on July 1, becoming the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. The two federations’ catchment areas are contiguous.

MetroWest’s president, Lori Klinghoffer, will lead the new entity, MetroWest Executive Vice President Max Kleinman will be the CEO, and Stanley Stone, executive vice president of Central New Jersey, will be the executive director. The headquarters will be in Whippany, N.J., where MetroWest is located; Central’s existing office will become a regional office of the new federation.

Federation officials said the merger, which has been under discussion for about 15 months, brings together two communities that have similar values and numerous shared programs but are separated arbitrarily by geography.

“It’s not that bigger is better, but something greater has come that will have a positive impact on the community served by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ,” Stone said.

The move is expected to result in cost savings of about $200,000 annually, and some “redundant” employees may be let go, MetroWest’s chief marketing officer, Shelley Labiner, told JTA in an interview last month ahead of this week’s merger vote. MetroWest’s current annual budget is about $7 million; Central NJ’s is about $1.5 million.

The primary reason for the merger is to provide better services to constituents, Labiner said. It will also increase the federations’ clout on a national level, she noted. The merger will make the new entity one of the nation’s top 10 federations by size.

“There’s greater potential for providing services and programming to a wider area, building on existing synergies,” Labiner said.

New Jersey currently has 11 different Jewish federations. There are a total of 157 in North America.

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