About the Plan

The Rabbis and Cantors Retirement Plan (RCRP) offers ordained Jewish clergy the opportunity to receive tax-free retirement distributions as housing allowances (parsonage), in keeping with IRS regulations.

Rabbis and cantors may participate regardless of Jewish denomination or movement affiliation.

Since its establishment in 2012, over 225 participants have opened a retirement account with RCRP, representing over $32 million in retirement assets. Our first participants have now begun to receive disbursements from their accounts through RCRP.

Our Plan participants include rabbis and cantors ordained by Hebrew College, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, ALEPH, Hebrew Union College, Jewish Theological Seminary, Academy for Jewish Religion/California, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Yeshiva University, and Academy for Jewish Religion (NY), as well as holders of private ordination.

Our current supporting organizations are the AJRCA Clergy and Alumni Association, the Association of Rabbis and Cantors, Hebrew College Clergy Alumni Association, International Rabbinic Fellowship, OHALAH, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.

In accordance with IRS regulations for a "church plan," the Plan is maintained by the Kehillah Association of America, an independent non-denominational non-profit. Until October 31, 2022, RCRP was maintained by the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, which has ceased operations. KAA is composed of a small number of congregations working together, including sponsoring a retirement plan (RCRP) for rabbis and cantors. Participation in RCRP is NOT limited to rabbis and cantors employed by congregations that are members of KAA.


RCRP is a member of the Church Benefits Association the professional association of religiously affiliated retirement plans.
RCRP is an affiliate member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Their mission is: "Through the lens of faith, ICCR builds a more just and sustainable world by integrating social values into corporate and investor actions."

RCRP Directors

Rabbi Robert Tabak, Chair

Rabbi Robert Levy, Vice-Chair

Rabbi Salem Pearce, Secretary

Rabbi Meryl Crean, Treasurer

Rabbi Eve Eichenholtz, Asst. Treasurer

Cantor Paul Buch, Immediate Past Chair

Rabbi Sharon Ballan

Rabbi Eitan Cooper

Rabbi Evan JKrame

Mark Pinsky

Cantor Jeri Robins

Rabbanit Dr. Liz Shayne

Rabbi Nathan Weiner

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, ex officio for Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Our Relationship with Fidelity Investments

When the Plan was started in 2012, Vanguard was the only investment company with fees low enough to support a new plan such as ours, which was just beginning to grow its assets. We are grateful to them for this. However, as the Plan began to grow, we came to realize that Vanguard did not specifically support 403(b)(9) "Church Plans" such as ours. We then began an intensive research process to find a provider that could meet all of our specific present needs, and provide a relationship that could grow as the Plan did. That is how we came to connect with Fidelity Investments. Fidelity not only specifically supports "Church Plans," it is also able to ensure the proper tax and other paperwork is maintained to ensure distributions are tracked as housing allowances (when appropriate). As well, Fidelity has a dedicated team to provide support for both our participants and our administrators.

Does Fidelity provide low-cost options?

List of Mutual Funds Available for Investment at Fidelity

All mutual funds have some costs for investors to cover their expenses. These percentages can vary greatly. Fidelity offers many low-cost funds. This list of close to 200 Fidelity funds available to RCRP participants includes many index mutual funds, as well as a large number of actively managed funds. These expense ratios, set by Fidelity, are all subject to change.

For example: Asset Class

Fidelity fund — (expense ratio)

US equities FSTVX — (0.05%)
US bonds FSITX — (0.07%)
US inflation-linked bonds FSIYX — (0.10%)
International equities FSIVX — (0.12%)
Emerging markets equities FPMAX — (0.20%)
US Sustainability Index Fund [Socially Responsible] FENSX — (0.21%)
International Sustainability Index Fd [Socially Responsible] FNIYX — (0.30%)

Target-year index funds are now available to RCRP participants. In these funds, available for targets from 2020-2050, Fidelity divides funds between stocks and bonds based on your estimated retirement year. Note that the less-expensive funds include the word "Index."

For example:

Fidelity Freedom® Index 2025 FQIFX — (0.15%)
Fidelity Freedom® Index 2030 Fund FXIFX — (0.15%)

What if I want to invest in a socially responsible fund?

As of our recently restructured platform for investing with Fidelity, we are now able to provide additional SRI options.

Included in Tier 2 on the Fidelity platform ("Core Funds") are four low-cost SRI funds from Calvert funds, a well-known company in the fields of socially responsible investing and use of environmental, social impact, and governance (ESG) criteria. There is a SRI US stock (equity) fund, Calvert US Large Cap Core Responsible Index I a SRI international fund, Calvert International Responsible Index I; a SRI bond fund, Calvert Green Bond I; and a SRI balanced fund, Calvert Balanced I. Investors preferring to use social screening criteria should be able to manage their retirement accounts with good options using these four funds.

Fidelity has also begun several new ESG (environmental, social and governance) funds, with differing selection criteria, which are available through Tier 3 ("Expanded Options").  More information from Fidelity is available here.

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