United Synagogue

US cuts budget and jobs as income falls

By Simon Rocker, January 29, 2009

The United Synagogue is axing jobs and planning to cut spending by nearly £250,000 in the light of the economic downturn.

A spokesman for the Orthodox synagogue organisation said on Monday that a financial review had led “to a proposal that a small number of positions will be made redundant. However, as we are still within the consultation process, we cannot confirm the number of positions that may go.”

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Palmers Green minister fights US plan to make him part-time

By Jay Grenby, January 29, 2009

Palmers Green and Southgate Synagogue’s Rabbi Emanuel Levy is fighting a move to make his position part-time in a cost-cutting measure.

Although a United Synagogue spokesman suggested that the 60-year-old minister had accepted the change, Rabbi Levy said on Monday that he would appeal against the decision.

“I believe that the need for my services is as great now as it has ever been. We maintain regular daily services, shirum, education and welfare activities, exactly as we have always done.”

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Music to the ears of pre-schoolers

By Jay Grenby, January 14, 2009

Barnet mums who once ran a toddler group at the local United Synagogue have come up with a new concept for pre-schoolers and their parents.

Serena Kurash and Susan Sacks have launched Jam — Jewish Arts and Music — meeting weekly at the shul, for sessions themed around an aspect of Jewish life.

The women bring a wealth of experience to the venture. Mrs Kurash has worked with children as a piano teacher for over 20 years; Mrs Sacks ran her own nursery. They developed the idea for Jam from their time with the toddler group.

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What you should say when giving a eulogy

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, December 30, 2008

My great uncle was never much of a shul-goer and in his final years, illness and frailty prevented him attending synagogue altogether. When he died, we panicked. “How will the new rabbi find words to eulogise him at the funeral?” we asked. But my aunt was not perturbed. Using a shocking but highly memorable expression, she informed us that, “If the birdie don’t sing, he won’t get no bird seed.” Sure enough, somehow the minister managed to assemble a suitable tribute to a man he had never met.

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US attends first liaison meeting

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2008

The United Synagogue has for the first time sent a rabbinic representative to the liaison body set up to reduce tensions between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox.

Rabbi Michael Harris, joint vice- chairman of the US Rabbinical Council, attended last Thursday’s meeting at US head office of the community consultative committee, established under the 1998 Stanmore Accords.

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Reform proposes merger

December 23, 2008

The leader of the US Reform movement, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, proposed that some of his movement’s synagogues could pool resources and merge with Conservative shuls to save costs in the face of the global economic crisis.

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Cut duplication — and chase bills, says US head

By Bernard Josephs, December 18, 2008

United Synagogue president Simon Hochhauser called this week for the community to streamline its education, welfare and outreach bodies.

Speaking at a sombre US Council meeting, overshadowed by calls for spending cuts in both the US and the community at large, he said that tough times necessitated ditching some of its most prized organisations, whose functions overlapped.

Duplication, he said, was “simply no longer affordable.” The US “no longer has the luxury of funding so many organisations”.

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Closing time at Hounslow synagogue

By Marcus Dysch, December 11, 2008

Sixty years of West London history were recalled on Sunday as 150 past and current members attended a valedictory service at Hounslow, Heathrow and District Synagogue. The service was led by Reverend Alan Greenbat, who had served the congregation as visiting minister.

At one time, the shul ran a cheder, youth club and study group. But membership numbers dwindled, making it difficult to attract regular minyanim. Yomtov services have not been held at the shul in Staines Road, Hounslow, for the past two years.

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Speak at the grave: with reservations

By Simon Rocker, December 4, 2008

The United Synagogue this week finally cleared the way for lay people to give eulogies at funerals.

The organisation had come under increasing pressure to change a long-standing policy whereby only members of the clergy could address mourners at the cemetery.

From now on, a member of the deceased’s family will be able to give the hesped (eulogy) at the discretion of the officiating rabbi.

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US departure

December 4, 2008

United Synagogue head of central services David Braes is leaving the US after 11 years following a reorganisation. Chief executive Jeremy Jacobs thanked him for his contribution and wished him well for the future.

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