United Synagogue

US 'must shift resources to local shuls'

By Simon Rocker, February 26, 2015

The former chairman of one of the United Synagogue's largest communities says its new strategic review could be pivotal if the organisation can take the steps necessary to implement it.

Lord Mendelsohn, who was a strong advocate of change in the US when chairing Finchley Synagogue, said that "there needs to be a tremendous shift of resources from the centre to local communities".

The review,


Time to change: we must adapt say shul leaders

By Simon Rocker, February 19, 2015

The United Synagogue should play a greater leadership role in British Jewry while offering more cultural programmes to attract secular Jews, a major review has concluded.

Europe's largest synagogue body must move away from regarding shuls as "religious sanctuaries" and make its centres more welcoming if it is to succeed.


Young chefs preparing to be charitable

February 19, 2015

Families have been cooking up a storm during half-term as part of a United Synagogue campaign to support the less fortunate.

Soup, pasta and desserts were prepared at culinary sessions involving mums and children at the Mill Hill, Stanmore and Muswell Hill synagogues for local homeless shelters and vulnerable members of participants' communities.


Interfaith group drops rabbi as patron after only two weeks

By Marcus Dysch, February 9, 2015

An interfaith conflict-resolution group has reversed its decision to make a leading rabbi a patron due to past comments he has made on Israel and the Palestinians.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet had been appointed by Faith Matters only a fortnight ago.


Shul extension blocked

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2015

An attempt by one of the United Synagogue's newest communities, Hadley Wood, to extend its premises is being blocked by Enfield Council.

The congregation started as a satellite of Cockfosters and North Southgate Synagogue in 1990, becoming a fully-fledged US member 10 years ago. Since 2002, congregants have gathered in the ground floor of a house purchased as a meeting place.


United Synagogue rabbi ‘failed to show at funeral’

By Sandy Rashty, December 25, 2014

The United Synagogue has apologised to a grieving family after one of its shuls failed to provide a rabbi to oversee both the funeral and stone-setting of a member at Bushey cemetery.

It is investigating why a Pinner Synagogue minister did not officiate at the ceremonies for Samuel Sandler, who had been an active Pinner congregant for 40 years.


US chief mulled move to block Yachad at Board

By Simon Rocker, November 13, 2014

United Synagogue president Stephen Pack considered warning members of the Board of Deputies to vote against the admission of the campaign group Yachad, over its "unacceptable activities", it has been revealed.

In an email seen by the JC, Mr Pack said he had been pressed to write to representatives of US congregations on the Board to oppose Yachad's application.

But he told the JC on Wednesda


Laura joins United Synagogue

November 6, 2014

Board of Deputies senior vice-president, Laura Marks, who represents the Movement for Reform Judaism, has joined the United Synagogue.

Ms Marks, who has become an associate member of Highgate Synagogue while retaining links with the Reform Alyth, said, "Lots of people are members of more than one synagogue.


'Don't shut out those with qualms on Gaza'

By Simon Rocker, September 23, 2014

A senior United Synagogue rabbi said this week that the community should not shut out Jews who had qualms about Israeli actions in Gaza.

Hampstead Synagogue's Rabbi Michael Harris, speaking at a conference on modern Orthodoxy in London, said that he had felt "uneasy throughout the past summer that the community's official bodies were making no room for people who had moral qualms about some of


US says Board seen to 'lack leadership'

By Simon Rocker, September 11, 2014

Board of Deputies president Vivian Wineman was under fresh pressure this week after the United Synagogue issued a letter commenting on the Board's "perceived lack of effective leadership".

But US president Stephen Pack made clear on Wednesday that it did not support moves to oust him from office.