Chair of JW3 in the running to become United Synagogue president

Michael Goldstein and US vice-chairman Russell Kett thought to be strongest contenders to succeed Stephen Pack


There is a two-horse race to succeed Stephen Pack as United Synagogue president.

Michael Goldstein, the chairman of the JW3 community centre, is going head to head with current US vice-chairman Russell Kett in next month’s election.

Mr Goldstein is chief executive of a private property company and brother of the new chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, Jonathan Goldstein. He has not previously served as a US officer or trustee.

But his previous communal roles include chairmanship of a United congregation, Mill Hill, and serving as vice-chairman of UJIA and King Solomon High School.

Mr Kett, of Belmont Synagogue, chairs an international hotel consultancy. He has served the maximum six successive years as US vice-president and is a former chairman of JFS and the Shabbaton Choir.

Mr Pack bows out after completing the maximum two successive terms in office allowed by the constitution.

Both candidates have pledged their support for changing the rules to allow their own successor to be a woman.

In his manifesto, Mr Kett says he will work to ensure “value for money” across the young people’s division, Tribe, encourage the London Beth Din dayanim to bring their own synagogues under the US umbrella and find ways to reduce head office’s reliance on “payover” — the levy from member communities.

Mr Goldstein wants to see a reduction in payover, form alliances with other educational organisations and ensure consistency in batmitzvah celebrations and women’s educational programmes across the US.

All the available other posts on the executive are also being contested.

There are three candidates for treasurer — Stephen Lubinsky, Jeffrey Davidson and Maxwell Nisner, chair of the US audit committee.

All four women trustees — Doreen Samuels, Claire Lemer, Jacqui Zinkin and Leonie Lewis — are bidding to return to office. But Fleurise Lewis, a Kinloss board member, will be looking to capture one of the seats.

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