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United Synagogue youth arm quizzed over involvement of non-halachically Jewish teens

US defends policy of its youth organisation

    The United Synagogue is standing by its procedures for joining its youth division Tribe in the light of concerns about the participation of children who are not halachically Jewish.

    Charles Daniels, a Mill Hill Synagogue representative at the US Council, questioned its policy at the council last year when he reported that some of those in Tribe summer camps were not halachically Jewish.

    Prospective members submit an online application where they are asked to affirm they are Jewish.

    But they do not undergo formal checks on their Jewish status.

    David Collins, director of Jewish living at the US, said Tribe “has always sought to engage the widest possible range of Jewish youth.

    “Although we do not require the formal checking of Jewish status needed to become a full member of the US, we have always asked those joining Tribe to confirm they understand that membership is available only to persons of the Jewish religion according to the rulings of the Office of the Chief Rabbi.”

    The Chief Rabbi and the London Beth Din considered it an “appropriate approach” for Tribe, Mr Collins added.

    According to the website, membership of Tribe does not confirm Jewish status “for such purposes as eligibility for United Synagogue schools, marriage, membership of United synagogues”. Incorrect information could invalidate Tribe membership, it warned.

    “The issue is not resolved,” Mr Daniels said this week.

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