United Synagogue

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.


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.


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.


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”.


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.


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.


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.


Funerals under way for Mumbai victims

By Leon Symons, December 1, 2008

Funerals for some of the six Jewish victims of last week's terror attack on Mumbai's Chabad House are taking place in Israel. Mourners followed a procession for Aryeh Teitelbaum, 37, from Mea She'arim, in Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives, where he will be buried.

The family of Mr Teitelbaum, a Chassidic jew, had rejected Israel's offer to include him in the official memorial ceremony when the bodies arrivedat Ben-Gurion Airport last night. They also stressed that they did they did want his coffin wrapped in an Israeli flag as those of the other victims would be.


United Synagogue launches after-school club at Muswell Hill Synagogue

November 13, 2008

An after-school club has been launched at Muswell Hill Synagogue by the United Synagogue youth arm, Tribe. Arts and crafts and karate were among the initial activities. The youngsters were joined for supper and a magic show by Muswell Hill Synagogue's Rabbi David Mason, who said: "It was great to see our children having such a good time. This is a really positive step towards deepening our community's connection with Tribe."


Bushey US: 2009 charity will be Watford Women's Refuge

October 30, 2008

Bushey United Synagogue has announced that its charity for 2009 will be the Watford Women's Refuge. The refuge offers temporary accommodation to women and children threatened with domestic violence. Each year, the congregation selects a non-Jewish charity to support, with the intention of benefiting the wider community. The 2008 charity is the British Heart Foundation. Congregants are hoping to raise £2,500 to buy a defibrillator from the BHF, for use in shul, should anyone be unfortunate enough to suffer a cardiac arrest while on-site.