United Synagogue makes history as four women voted to top table

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2014
Claire Lemer

Claire Lemer

It may not have been as revolutionary as the Church of England at last approving women bishops.

But the United Synagogue, Britain’s largest Orthodox synagogue grouping, took a historic step last night by voting women on to its executive for the first time.

Claire Lemer (Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue), Leonie Lewis (Pinner), Doreen Samuels (Pinner) and Jacqui Zinkin (Golders Green) defeated two other candidates for the four seats reserved for women as US trustees.

Dr Lemer, who was a recipient of the British Empire Medal in last month’s Birthday Honours, said, "It's wonderful to be part of an historic occasion, and I am delighted that the new trustee board represents so well the diversity that makes the US such a unique organisation."

President Stephen Pack (Hadley Wood) was elected unopposed for a second three-year term, while Brian Markeson (Watford) triumphed in the election for treasurer.

Stephen Fenton (Bushey), Russell Kett (Belmont) and Stephen Goldman (Edgware) pipped four other men for the remaining trustee posts.

Women had previously attended trustee meetings as observers. The move to allow them full trustee status follows the election of the first female chairmen of local US synagogues last year.

Last updated: 2:23pm, July 15 2014