BROCKTON, Mass. (AP) — Three conservative synagogues south of Boston have begun exploring a merger to deal with shrinking and aging congregations.

Congregation presidents say if members at Temple Beth Emunah in Brockton, Temple Beth Am in Randolph and at Ahavath Torah in Stoughton agree, they will consolidate next year under a new name. The new congregation would meet at the Brockton temple until a new facility is built.

The consolidated congregation would include some 600 families.

Stephen Berlin, president of the congregation at Beth Emuna, says the temple's membership has been cut in half since it had 400 families in its heyday, and it's becoming a financial strain.

Brandeis University professor and American Judaism scholar Jonathan Sarna tells The Enterprise ( ) that the local synagogues are following a national trend.


Information from: The (Brockton, Mass.) Enterprise,