United Synagogue

Rabbi backs conversion sermon

By Simon Rocker, June 20, 2008

A United Synagogue rabbi has hit back after being sharply criticised by a colleague for his outspoken comments on Israel’s conversion crisis.

In a letter to the JC, Rabbi Naftali Brawer, joint vice-chairman of the US Rabbinical Council, responded to the claims of Hendon’s Rabbi Mordechai Ginsbury, the council’s immediate past chairman, that he has been “intemperate” and “unfair”.

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New US leadership

June 13, 2008

Colourful Mill Hill minister Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet is the new chair of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue. Elstree and Borehamwood’s Rabbi Naftali Brawer and Hampstead’s Rabbi Michael Harris are vice-chairmen, Pinner’s Rabbi Yaakov Grunewald is treasurer and Kenton’s Rabbi Yehuda Black is secretary.

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Schochet is elected

June 6, 2008

United Synagogue rabbis have chosen one of their most high-profile members to chair their Rabbinic Council. Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet succeeds Rabbi Mordechai Ginsbury. Vice-chairs will be Rabbi Michael Harris and Rabbi Naftali Brawer.

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Memorial service for chazan Chaim Graniewitz

June 6, 2008

More than 200 Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue members attended a memorial service for chazan Chaim Graniewitz, who died in January, aged 77. United Synagogue leaders joined the congregation and a letter was read out from Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, recalling Rev Graniewitz’s “passion and pride in Judaism and the Jewish people. He had the ability to empathise and to bring a smile to faces in difficult times.” Tributes were also paid by Stanmore senior minister Rabbi Mendel Lew and Rev Graniewitz’s sons David and Steven.

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Synagogue didn’t dig deep for my wages, claims cemetery worker

By Candice Krieger, May 30, 2008

A Jewish cemetery worker is accusing the United Synagogue of racial discrimination, claiming that non-Jewish workers were paid more than him for working at Christmas.

Peter Sollosi, 48, who was employed by the US as part of its chevrah kadisha (burial committee), said he felt “bullied” by the US which, he claims, made unlawful deductions from his wages.

He alleges that though he was paid double his daily salary for Christmas Day 2006, non-Jewish workers were paid five times their normal rate.

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UK rabbi uses sermon to attack convert annulments as ‘insane’

By Simon Rocker, May 30, 2008

A leading United Synagogue rabbi has hit out at the recent decision of a rabbinical court in Israel calling for the annulment of thousands of conversions carried out in the country.

Rabbi Naftali Brawer condemned the verdict of the Supreme Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem as symptomatic of an “insane and oppressive interpretation” of Jewish law.

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Hochhauser puts women at heart of his election bid

By Simon Rocker, May 16, 2008

Simon Hochhauser, the president of the United Synagogue, announced this week that he is to seek re-election on a platform of greater freedom for local synagogues and equality for women as lay leaders.

Elections for the head of the mainstream Orthodox body take place in July, with nominations due to close in the middle of next month.

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Pesach food parcels

April 11, 2008

Over 450 parcels of Pesach essentials will be distributed to elderly and isolated members of the community through a joint initiative between the United Synagogue and the London School of Jewish Studies.

Project Chesed parcels include matzah, wine, tea, coffee, cheese and cold meats. They will be dispatched across 24 US communities, with the greatest demand from Hackney and East London Synagogue.

Rakusen’s, Osem, Blooms and Snowcrest are among food firms supporting the venture, which has also received backing from the Benjamin Angel Foundation and a private donor.

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