St John’s Wood (United) Synagogue is moving towards a merger with the Saatchi shul, which holds services in the beth hamedrash on the SJWS site.
Following discussions between the respective leaderships, a framework for the future has been put forward.
It proposes that separate SJWS and Saatchi services will continue. But to “foster a wider sense of community”, joint kiddushim will be held when service timings can be co-ordinated.
Saatchi’s Rabbi Mendel Cohen will join the SJWS rabbinic team while continuing to lead Saatchi services. In time, he and his wife Chai will take on wider responsibilities within the enlarged community.
Saatchi members will be invited to become full members of SJWS and the Saatchi/SJWS liaison committee will formulate plans to align membership contributions “with an appropriate transition period”. There will be Saatchi representation on the SJWS board.
SJWS and Saatchi say they “aspire to be the most vibrant and inclusive modern Orthodox community in Central London. We strongly believe that by harnessing the strengths of our two hitherto separate communities, we will be taking a significant step towards that goal, as well as creating a platform for growth. We are looking forward to our joint future.”