United Synagogue

Rabbi backs down over Big Tent

By Simon Rocker and Jonathan Kalmus, October 27, 2011

The Orthodox organiser of an Israel solidarity conference in Manchester has backed down after being warned that his refusal to invite Progressive rabbis as speakers risked provoking a new religious rift in the community.


How the burial society can help at a time of trauma

October 6, 2011

According to stillbirth charity Sands there were 4,124 stillbirths in Britain in 2009, which equates to 11 babies stillborn every day. Stillbirth rates in 1970 were around 20 per cent higher than they are today.

But Jewish law took into account the extremely high infant mortality well before the 20th century. In the 1890s, there were around 150 deaths per 1,000 births in England and Wales.


The truth about our son - 40 years later

By Jessica Elgot, October 6, 2011

Susan Bergson never knew her baby boy.

He died in distress after an emergency Caesarian at a London hospital, 40 years ago. Immediately, he was taken away while her husband sought the advice of the United Synagogue on how to bury the body.

He was stunned to be told that the baby would have to be buried with the body of an anonymous, newly-deceased mother.


St Albans gets the full US treatment

By Jay Grenby, September 27, 2011

St Albans Synagogue's change from affiliated status to full constituent United Synagogue membership was formally approved at Monday's US Council meeting.

Founded in 1933 by local residents who met in private houses, the congregation was boosted during World War II by people who fled London to escape the bombing. Many stayed on after the war, opening businesses in the city.


'How to' guides online

By Simon Rocker, September 27, 2011

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has produced two new electronic resources to extend his outreach to synagogue members.

A series of 15 short video "how-to" guides, which can be seen on the United Synagogue's website and YouTube, demonstrate a range of Jewish practices, from putting on tefillin to gelilah, rolling up the Sefer Torah.

Lord Sacks has also published a new volume of Letters to the Next Gen


An elected Chief Rabbi? If only

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 9, 2011

If I thought there was a cat in hell's chance of our being able to elect the next Chief Rabbi of "the United Hebrew Congregations", believe me I would hurry to don my second-best streimel and dance with a Sefer through the streets of St John's Wood, declaring as I went that not only do we all want Moshiach Now but that I would wager what, if anything, remains of my reputation that the Moshiach ha


Friday night for the whole family

By Jennifer Lipman, September 6, 2011
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The United Synagogue has launched a range of Jewish Online Guides to help community members with everything from blessing children on a Friday night, saying Kaddish for a loved one or praying at Shul.

The idea is to help people do these things at home, without any fear of embarrassment.


Elect a chief rabbi, it shouldn't cost much

By Marcus Dysch, September 1, 2011

A democratic election to choose the next chief rabbi could be run cheaply and efficiently by the United Synagogue, according to the Electoral Reform Society.

But the organisation, Britain's leading administrator of ballots and elections, said the US must ensure the electorate is clearly defined and avoid confusion over who is eligible, or risk the legitimacy of the entire process.

Ashley Dé


Get a chief rabbi, but not with a roadshow

By Marcus Dysch, August 18, 2011

The United Synagogue has not ruled out offering members the chance to vote on the next chief rabbi.

The JC launched a campaign last week for the next chief rabbi - to succeed Lord Sacks when he retires in September 2013 - to be democratically elected, with synagogue members and a wider section of the community having a say in the process.

The US said it was too early to decide what the proce


In 209 years only two chief rabbis went to the vote

By Miri Freud-Kandel, August 11, 2011

Chief rabbinate elections have historically been characterised more by autocracy than democracy.