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Two more east London shuls to merge

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For the second time in less than a month, two synagogues in the east London area have decided to merge.

When Clayhall and Newbury Park in Essex agreed to join forces, it was the first merger of United shuls in a decade.

Now, members of the US Wanstead and Woodford Synagogue and the independent Waltham Forest Hebrew Congregation have followed suit, voting overwhelmingly for union last week.

Wanstead chair Sally Caplan said: "We are looking forward to a prosperous future as we become stronger and more vibrant. There are a lot of Jewish people in the area."

Writing in advance to members, Waltham Forest leaders said they believed the plan was "both financially sound and will be to the greatest benefit of both communities".

The joint community is likely to meet at Wanstead and Woodford's Churchfields premises. Waltham Forest has its own building and the proceeds from any sale will go towards the development of the new community.

A name has not yet been agreed, but one suggestion is Forest United Synagogue.

Around 1,300 people are members of the two shuls with numbers evenly split.

Future plans include the appointment of a full-time assistant rabbinic couple in order to attract younger people.

Both the Clayhall and Wanstead and Woodford merger decisions require US Council ratification.

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