United Synagogue

Shul extension blocked

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2015

An attempt by one of the United Synagogue's newest communities, Hadley Wood, to extend its premises is being blocked by Enfield Council.

The congregation started as a satellite of Cockfosters and North Southgate Synagogue in 1990, becoming a fully-fledged US member 10 years ago. Since 2002, congregants have gathered in the ground floor of a house purchased as a meeting place.


United Synagogue rabbi ‘failed to show at funeral’

By Sandy Rashty, December 25, 2014

The United Synagogue has apologised to a grieving family after one of its shuls failed to provide a rabbi to oversee both the funeral and stone-setting of a member at Bushey cemetery.

It is investigating why a Pinner Synagogue minister did not officiate at the ceremonies for Samuel Sandler, who had been an active Pinner congregant for 40 years.


US chief mulled move to block Yachad at Board

By Simon Rocker, November 13, 2014

United Synagogue president Stephen Pack considered warning members of the Board of Deputies to vote against the admission of the campaign group Yachad, over its "unacceptable activities", it has been revealed.

In an email seen by the JC, Mr Pack said he had been pressed to write to representatives of US congregations on the Board to oppose Yachad's application.

But he told the JC on Wednesda


Laura joins United Synagogue

November 6, 2014

Board of Deputies senior vice-president, Laura Marks, who represents the Movement for Reform Judaism, has joined the United Synagogue.

Ms Marks, who has become an associate member of Highgate Synagogue while retaining links with the Reform Alyth, said, "Lots of people are members of more than one synagogue.


'Don't shut out those with qualms on Gaza'

By Simon Rocker, September 23, 2014

A senior United Synagogue rabbi said this week that the community should not shut out Jews who had qualms about Israeli actions in Gaza.

Hampstead Synagogue's Rabbi Michael Harris, speaking at a conference on modern Orthodoxy in London, said that he had felt "uneasy throughout the past summer that the community's official bodies were making no room for people who had moral qualms about some of


US says Board seen to 'lack leadership'

By Simon Rocker, September 11, 2014

Board of Deputies president Vivian Wineman was under fresh pressure this week after the United Synagogue issued a letter commenting on the Board's "perceived lack of effective leadership".

But US president Stephen Pack made clear on Wednesday that it did not support moves to oust him from office.


A woman's charitable drive to bank time

By Sandy Rashty, August 29, 2014

Pass a Morrisons or Sainsbury’s supermarket in Harrow and you might spot Leonie Lewis shaking a donation tin outside.

For years, she has braved British weather collecting for a charity which supports people with learning disabilities.

Lewis, the director of the Jewish Volunteering Network, and a senior collector for Mencap, has always led by example.


Shimon Cohen, the Sultan of Spin

By Sandy Rashty, August 15, 2014

Shimon Cohen describes himself as a “spin-consultant”.

Along with his 18-strong team, Cohen is trusted to manage the scandals and promote the work of 70 groups — including communal organisations from the United Synagogue to the Holocaust Educational Trust and Aish UK.


The steady head at the helm of the United Synagogue

By Simon Rocker, August 8, 2014

No communal leader manages to appear as unruffled as Stephen Pack, the president of the United Synagogue. His calm and affable presence will remain at the helm of British Jewry’s largest religious organisation for a further three years, after his unopposed election for a second term last month.


Chief Rabbi Mirvis: assisted dying Bill is 'dangerous'

By Sandy Rashty, July 18, 2014

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has condemned a Bill which would allow doctors to end the lives of terminally ill patients.

The Assisted Dying Bill, which was due to be debated in the House of Lords today, would permit lethal drugs to be administered to people with less than six months to live.