United Synagogue

Daft ideas from the US

By Simon Rocker, March 18, 2010

The United Synagogue is close to reforming its by-laws, a byword for antiquated bureaucracy. But the revised version of the rules may be no better.

Outling the changes at a meeting this week, US vice-president Peter Zinkin presented on his powerpoint: "Daft 25 key issues."

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United Synagogue keen for law change over JFS

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 25, 2010

United Synagogue president Simon Hochhauser this week stressed the need to push for legislative change following the Supreme Court ruling on Jewish school admissions.

During a lively debate with Manchester leaders, educationists and Orthodox and Reform shul members at Whitefield Hebrew Congregation, Mr Hochhauser outlined his concerns over the ruling, which prohibits schools from choosing pupils according to their parents' Jewish status.

He suggested that it could also have implications for synagogues and communal charities.

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The United Synagogue is acting like a greedy bully

By Keren David, February 11, 2010

Have you visited the picturesque Jewish quarter of Romford? Bought challot at the thriving kosher bakeries of Ruislip? I thought not. The Jews of Romford and Ruislip are fewer in number than those in Edgware or Golders Green and live further apart. A Romford eruv, I imagine, might take in vast areas of Essex.

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United Synagogue row over 'live near shul' rule

By Simon Rocker, January 28, 2010

The United Synagogue has been warned that it could be left without a congregation in some parts of London because of a rule banning some shuls accepting members who live more than one and a quarter miles away.

Rabbi Stanley Coten, of Ruislip and District Affiliated Synagogue, has intervened in a row between the US and its 14 affiliated synagogues over the rule.

In a letter to the Chief Rabbi, the London Beth Din and leaders of the US rabbinical council, he said it was putting off potential members.

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US rabbis squabble over JFS

By Simon Rocker, January 21, 2010

Arguments among United Synagogue rabbis over the JFS court case escalated this week as senior ministers dug in their heels against concessions to the non-Orthodox.

Writing to US lay leaders, the rabbis said they were “troubled” by the position advocated in last week’s JC by the joint vice-chairmen of the US Rabbinical Council (RCUS), Rabbis Michael Harris and Naftali Brawer.

They had called for co-operation with non-Orthodox bodies over any move to change the law in order to reverse the recent Supreme Court judgment on Jewish school admissions.

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Growing offshoot of Tribe

January 21, 2010

Almost 1,000 twentysomething singles have signed up to the community membership programme administered by Tribe, the United Synagogue youth arm.

For a £5 monthly fee, the programme offers full synagogue membership, including burial rights, plus event discounts and special activities.

“It is a myth that the United Synagogue is an old fashioned organisation with nothing to appeal to young adults,” said Tribe executive director Rabbi Andrew Shaw. “We have worked hard to engage with young people.”

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Synagogue links 'don't guarantee school place'

By Simon Rocker, January 14, 2010

Jewish schools have been warned by the body which scrutinises the admissions policies of state schools that there could be problems in accepting pupils according to synagogue membership.

Elizabeth Passmore, the Schools Adjudicator, said that, because shuls charged fees for membership, schools could be breaking the government’s admissions code which banned offering places according to financial means.

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Angry US rabbis divided over JFS

By Simon Rocker, January 14, 2010

The fallout from the JFS court case continued this week with a split emerging among United Synagogue rabbis.

A statement from the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue (RCUS) which last week attacked non-Orthodox movements over the case has been denounced as “misguided” and “aggressive” by the council’s own vice-chairmen.

Writing in today’s JC, Rabbis Michael Harris and Naftali Brawer have instead called for “all denonimations” to work together in order to reverse the Supreme Court’s judgment through a change in the law.

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'Class act' wins claim over US

By Leon Symons, December 22, 2009

A former senior educator has won his claim for unfair dismissal against the United Synagogue.

Jeffrey Leader, former director of education of the US’s Agency for Jewish Education and an employee for more than 20 years, was one of six people made redundant there as part of a cost cutting exercise that saw 17 people shed from the US. He brought the case because he claimed the redundancy process was unfair and he was given insufficient time to consult about alternative employment.

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Michael Howard pays to restore Swansea cemetary

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

Michael Howard has helped to pay for the restoration of a vandalised Jewish cemetery in Swansea, where his father was buried.

The United Synagogue’s burial team was asked to restore Townhill Cemetery, which is now closed, by Mr Howard and the local Jewish community.

Mr Howard, the former Conservative leader, offered to pay for some of the team’s expenses and asked for his father, who was buried there in 1966, to be moved to Bushey cemetery to join his late mother.

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