Congregations back plans to merge Ilford and Redbridge United Synagogues

PUBLISHED: 11:30 20 November 2018

The Ilford United Synagogue in Beehive Lane.

The Ilford United Synagogue in Beehive Lane.


Two of the borough’s Jewish congregations look set to form one 2,000-strong shul after voting in favour of merging.

United Synagogue (US) has announced that the communities of Redbridge United Synagogue, in Clayhall, and Ilford United Synagogue, in Gants Hill, each voted in favour of merging on Tuesday (November 13).

The vote was determined by “simple majority” - meaning that the highest number of votes wins.

US has not confirmed specific figures as to the turnout or the number of votes cast for or against.

A United Synagogues spokeswoman said this is because it is their policy not to give these figures to the media.

“Our communities are coming together for a stronger future,” said Malcolm Nathan and Mike Callaghan, the respective chairmen of the the Redbridge and Ilford United Synagogues,in a joint statement.

“Through a single, merged community we will still be able to continue the high level of pastoral care for which our communities are rightly known, but it will also enable us to provide better facilities in a dedicated and refurbished building for services and activities.”

A final decision on the merger will be taken by the United Synagogue Council on December 17.

Should the council give the green light, the new merged community will come into existence on May 21 next year and be based at Ilford United Synagogue, which will undergo some refurbishment.

A competition will be held to decide the new entity’s name.

Redbridge United Synagogue’s Rabbi Gary Newman would be retained as the community welfare minister of the new entity and a senior Rabbi or Rabbinic couple would also be recruited.

Redbridge United Synagogue was itself created from a merger between the former Newbury Park Synagogue, in Wessex Close, and former Clayhall United Synagogue, in Woodford Bridge Road, in 2014.

Michael Goldstein, President of the United Synagogue, said: “Combining forces will create a vibrant, strong community of some 2,000 members – one of the largest in the United Synagogue.

In an online poll conducted by the Recorder last month, 64pc of readers also backed the merger plans.

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