US head sets out three-year vision

United Synagogue president Simon Hochhauser has laid out his plans for the next three years in advance of his formal re-election for a second term on Monday week.

In a manifesto published this week, Dr Hochhauser and his new team promise to consult congregations with a view to “increased autonomy and responsibility” in running their affairs. They want to dispense with the two-tier constituent and affiliated status of member synagogues.

It is additionally intended for women to enjoy greater equality as lay leaders, subject to halachic constraints. Women currently cannot serve as US trustees, or as chairmen of shuls.

The team also proposes to introduce a members’ conference, invite independent communities to join the US, establish satellite congregations to boost membership and build more eruvs.

None of the honorary officers’ posts were contested after nominations closed last month. Dr Hochhauser’s team will include two of the current three vice-presidents, Keith Barnett and Peter Zinkin. The third, Geoffrey Hartnell, having served a maximum two successive terms, will remain as one of the three treasurers.

Stephen Pack will move from treasurer to vice-president, while incumbent Stephen Fenton and new recruit Russell Tenzer will be the other treasurers.

    Last updated: 12:52pm, July 7 2008