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Women stand by to stand

    The first elections for women trustees of the United Synagogue look set to be contested next month.

    At least five women have indicated that they are planning to stand for the four positions available on its executive before nominations close on Monday.

    The change to allow women formally to be elected to the leadership of the central Orthodox body was agreed by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis last year.

    While the organisation will be continue to be headed by a male president, four other men and four women will be elected as trustees in July, preserving a male majority under the new structure.

    Doreen Samuels, who is currently a "women's representative" at trustee meetings, and ex-Golders Green Synagogue vice-chairman Jacqui Zinkin previously announced that they were standing.

    Three more women confirmed their candidacy this week: Leonie Lewis, co-chair of United Synagogue Women; Lisa Olins of Pinner Synagogue; and Dr Claire Lemer, of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue.

    Mrs Lewis said: "I felt it incumbent that I put my money where my mouth is and rose to the challenge."

    Dr Lemer, who was a member of one of the committees that selected Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, said, "I want to ensure that the board is as diverse and representative of its varied members as possible."

    US president Stephen Pack, who will be seeking a second three-year term, said: "I view an electoral contest as "a healthy sign".

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