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Redbridge and Ilford synagogues to merge into 2,000-strong shul following council’s approval

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:42 19 December 2018

The Ilford United Synagogue in Beehive Lane.

The Ilford United Synagogue in Beehive Lane.

Archant

Two of the borough’s Jewish congregations are set to form one 2,000-strong shul after merger proposals were green lit by the United Synagogue Council.

A competition has now opened to decide on a name for the new community which will be formed of Redbridge United Synagogue, in Clayhall, and Ilford United Synagogue, in Gants Hill.

It is expected to come into being by May 21 next year and will be based in the latter’s Beehive Lane building.

The United Synagogue Council (US) voted unanimously in favour of merging the shuls at its meeting on Monday (December 17).

The chairmen of Ilford United Synagogue and Redbridge United Synagogue, Malcolm Nathan and Mike Callaghan respectively, have released a joint statement following the vote.

“Thank you very much to the United Synagogue Council for the confidence shown in us,” it reads.

“We’re very excited by this opportunity.

“The whole process started some two years ago, about the same time as Brexit, and we’ve managed to come up with an answer in that time.”

“We’re open to offers to move in to Number 10.

“On behalf of both of our executives, thank you for your support.

“This is the best thing for both of our communities.”

The US’ approval came following a vote held at both shuls on November 13 this year, which both returned majorities in favour of merging.

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.

As part of this merger, a refurbishment programme will be undertaken in the new year to ensure that the new community has improved facilities.

Redbridge United Synagogue’s Rabbi Gary Newman will be retained as the community welfare minister of the new entity and a senior Rabbi or Rabbinic is set to be recruited.

In 2014, Redbridge United Synagogue was created from a merger between the former Newbury Park Synagogue, in Wessex Close, and former Clayhall United Synagogue, in Woodford Bridge Road, responding to the borough’s contracting Jewish population.

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