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Pension Plan for Aged Rabbis in Reform Pulpit Instituted by Union

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Provision for comfort in old age has become a certainty to the Reform Rabbis of this country, through announcement made by Ludwig Vogelstein, chairman of the Executive Board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, of a retirement program which will provide annuities for all rabbis who because of advancing age are no longer able to render active congregational service.

The pension program is the result of years of planning on the part of the lay leaders of the Union. It received impetus several years ago from a $100,000 bequest from the late Jacob H. Schiff to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. This bequest serves as the nucleus of a fund of approximately $298,000 which will be required to carry out the Union’s share of the project.

A group insurance plan administered by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, similar to that which has been adopted by the Presbyterian Ministry, has been developed for the rabbis in the Reform puipit. It will be supported through annual contributions made by the Union and the congregation, or by the Union, the congregation and the rabbi. These contributions will purchase annuities which at the age of 68 (or earlier, if the rabbi is superannuated and desires to discontinue active service in the ministry) will yield an income equal to one-half of the rabbi’s salary on retirement. In the event that the rabbi increases his annual contribution, he secures a proportionately larger income. The plan affects all rabbis affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in the United States and Canada, and may include religious school teachers and others, at the discretion of the Union.

In case of withdrawal from the plan or from the Rabbinate, before completing ten years of service, a rabbi may either receive in cash the full amount of his own payments or he may obtain a paid-up annuity purchased by means of the total payments made by the Congregation and himself.

If a rabbi withdraws after ten years of service, however, he may secure a paid-up annuity resulting from the total contributions made by the Union, the Congregation and himself.

Among the features of the retirement program are the so-called migratory arrangement and the absolute guaranty through contract with the insurance company, that every provision of the contract on which the plan is based will be fulfilled. Under the migratory arrangement, a rabbi’s interest in the plan will continue unimpaired, even though he is called to another Congregation, so long as it is affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

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