The merging of the largest (Temple Kol Ami, 1,000 households) and the oldest (Temple Emanu-El, seventy-five years old) congregations in Broward County Florida was effected with careful and sensitive planning, the details of which were memorialized in a Plan of Merger. The merged congregation's name became Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El. Emanu-El's building was sold and the net proceeds were used to create the Temple Kol Ami-Emanu-El Foundation. The clergy from Emanu-El were welcomed into the new Kol Ami Emanu-El. The yahrzeit plaques and Torahs from both congregations were integrated. Those who were members of Emanu-El for at least five years prior to the merger (most of whom were elderly) were offered free lifetime membership at Kol Ami Emanu-El.
Temple Kol Ami's Rabbi Edward Maline conducted a "gate closing" ceremony after the last Friday night service at the former facility of Temple Emanu-El. As the Torahs were carried out by past presidents, Rabbi Maline reminded the members: although they were closing their building and their gates, they were opening new gates with the formation of Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El. On Rosh Hashanah, those same presidents, in a processional, brought the Torahs into the sanctuary of Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El for a consecration ceremony.
RESOURCES: Plan of Merger and publicity
For more information, see the Union's publication The Ten Commandments of Congregational Heritage Preservation.