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Retirement may mean different things to different people, but all of us share at least one common goal: to try to make this chapter of our lives as secure and pleasurable as possible. Planning and preparing for our retirement can seem a daunting, perhaps even overwhelming, task. As skilled as we may be in our professional lives, most of us are not sophisticated financial experts. As your financial professional guides you in how to protect, preserve, and grow your money, the Joint Retirement Board for Conservative Judaism (JRB) offers you membership in a retirement savings Plan that can help you reach your financial retirement goals.

Although there are many benefits available to you through your membership in this Plan, the most important may be that your contributions are made on a pre-tax basis. This means that your account has the added potential to grow faster than savings made outside the Plan because your pre-tax contributions, and the earnings on them, are not subject to current income taxes until you withdraw or take distributions from your account. Not only is saving easier, but your annual income taxes are actually reduced while you save, and the amount available for growth is maximized. 

Who We Are  

The JRB was founded in 1945, using proceeds from a trust fund established during his lifetime by the late Jacob H. Schiff, to enable the Conservative, Orthodox, and Reform branches of Judaism to begin offering independent pension plans. The original name was The Joint Retirement Board of The Rabbinical Assembly of America, The United Synagogue of America, and The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

The JRB is a not-for-profit corporation now organized under the laws of the State of Delaware. It manages a portable, self-directed tax-deferred Defined Contribution 403(b) retirement savings Plan for professional and other employees of Conservative/Masorti Judaism. 

JRB provides a New York City-based headquarters to service accountholders from the movement’s Rabbis, Cantors, and personnel throughout the world.

JRB’s dedicated professional staff is led by a distinguished group of thirteen volunteer Trustees and two Observers whose combined knowledge and experience of over 175 years of service to JRB continually enhance our Plan.  Four Trustees are appointed by the Rabbinical Assembly, four by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, four by The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and one by the Cantors Assembly. An Observer is appointed each year by both the Jewish Educators Assembly and the North American Association of Synagogue Executives.

Each Trustee is appointed for a three-year term, with no limit on the number of terms that may be served. Officers are elected from among the Trustees and may serve in each office for two successive years. Trustees serve on important committees to study and recommend policy to the Board on Account Option choices and Plan enhancements, thereby ensuring that our Plan continues to meet the ongoing, long-term needs of accountholders.

The Retirement Plan

The JRB retirement savings Plan is organized as a self-directed 403(b) plan. While all 403(b) plans offer employees of non-profit religious, educational, and charitable organizations the opportunity to make pension contributions on a tax-deferred basis, ours, in addition to being a 403(b), is also a “church plan,” providing special advantages to “church” employees and clergy affiliated with Conservative/Masorti Judaism — such as parsonage allowance in retirement for clergy, and special catch-up elections for everyone — that are not available through other types of retirement programs. (Click here for details of church plan features.)


The Insurance Component

The Joint Retirement Board offers two insurance options  The first is Pension Disability insurance that will continue to pay your pension deposit should you become disabled. The second is Group Term Life insurance that can be purchased in amounts up to $300,000. Hartford Life Insurance is the underwriter of both policies.

How This Plan Handbook Is Organized

This Plan Handbook is organized to help you understand how the Plan works and how to make the best use of its features to suit your individual needs.

Your Self-Directed Account explains each aspect of your personal account.

Putting Money In tells you how to put money into your account, while Taking Money Out explains how to take money out of your account.

The Insurance Component explains the requirements and benefits of the Insurance Component of the Plan.

Employer Information details procedures for employers whose employees are enrolled, or may be enrolled, in the JRB Plan.

Each of the Definitions explains terminology you will need to understand the Plan, and helps you make informed decisions that will enhance your membership.

A helpful Subject Index and Table Index conclude the Plan Handbook. You can use these fast, easy reference sections to find the specific subjects, topics, and Tables about which you may have a question. They tell you by page reference where to find the information you need. 

JRB’s Special Services for Accountholders

In addition to the assistance you should seek from your own financial professionals in planning for your financial future, JRB provides the following special services:


JRB’s Newsletters are available online and through the mail, and serve as updates to this Handbook. Each contains important, current information on Plan enhancements, new Account Options, interest rates, mutual fund performance, and new developments in relevant federal legislation, such as Social Security retirement and Medicare provisions.

Each Newsletter features a special column written by JRB’s Chief Operating Officer, Mitchell Smilowitz, CPA, in which he discusses issues of interest to accountholders.

Special Print Publications (Available Upon Request)
  Mutual Funds Information Sheet, containing detailed information on each fund, in addition to performance data
  Benefits of Membership:  Highlights of the JRB Retirement Plan
  Maximizing Your Portfolio: Your Investor Profile
  Understanding Your Account Options
  Video of Pre-Retirement Seminar sponsored jointly by JRB and the Rabbinical Assembly
  Seminars and Workshops in New York City and Various Regions Across the Country
  Personal Consultations with JRB Professional Staff in New York Office
  Personal Consultations with JRB Professional Staff During Regional Visits
  Personal Consultations with JRB Professional Staff at Conventions
  Required Minimum Distribution Calculations
  Timing of Withdrawals
  Handling of Loan Requests
  Confirmation of Deposits
JRB makes every effort to protect the privacy and security of all account information.


With a combined total of more than 100 years of experience with JRB, our professional staff works closely with the Chief Operating Officer, and is eager to respond quickly to your questions and available to help you in all matters relating to your membership in the Plan. JRB’s goal is to offer you a range of sound investment opportunities and information to facilitate your retirement planning decisions.

We look forward to working with you and hope this Plan Handbook will answer your questions with clear, simple, and understandable explanations of how the Plan works and how you will benefit by your membership in it.

Welcome to the Plan!

The Joint Retirement Board


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The Joint Retirement Board for Conservative Judaism, Amutah
One Penn Plaza, Suite 1515, New York, NY 10119
Phone: (212) 947-2400
Fax: (212) 947-1676

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