United Synagogue

Trainee ministers intern for Shavuot

May 21, 2010

A Shavuot intern programme is giving United Synagogue trainee ministers first-hand experience of the life of a community rabbi.

Under the scheme, Ben Kurzer has been assigned to Belmont, Elchonon Feldman to Borehamwood and Binny Fogelgarn to Edgware.

After spending Shavuot in their designated communities, their week ends on Sunday with a brunch with Dayan Yonason Abraham.


Luton synagogue to become full US member

By Jay Grenby, May 6, 2010

Luton Hebrew Congregation is to become a full constituent member of the United Synagogue.

Around half the community's 131 members attended an EGM to vote on a motion to end nearly 90 years of staunchly-maintained independence. Despite a long history of opposition, there was just one dissenting voice.

Synagogue chair Brian Green was delighted by the overwhelming support for the move. "We have recognised that as a smaller independent community on the fringes of London, we could no longer achieve further growth on our own.


Rabbis discuss shared responsibilities

By Robyn Rosen, May 6, 2010

United Synagogue rabbis have discussed the desirability of ministerial teams to share responsibilities in larger communities.

A workshop during the Rabbinical Council of the US annual conference in Hemel Hempstead considered the team format, popular in America, where ministers take responsibility for different aspects of communal life.


US chief's March of the Living

April 22, 2010

United Synagogue chief executive Jeremy Jacobs says his participation in the March of the Living in Poland has strengthened his commitment to Holocaust education.

Mr Jacobs, who was accompanied by five US youth directors, witnessed the impact the march had on the young. "As the years go by, it becomes ever more urgent for people to hear testimony directly from survivors."

Mr Jacobs has committed £30,000 to Polish trips over the coming year.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”