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Redbridge and Ilford synagogues could merge under new proposals

PUBLISHED: 10:00 19 October 2018

The Ilford United Synagogue in Beehive Lane.

The Ilford United Synagogue in Beehive Lane.

Archant

Redbridge United Synagogue and Ilford United Synagogue could be combined into one 2,000 strong congregation by December if a proposed merger gets the green light.

The chairmen of both synagogues, Mike Callaghan and Malcolm Nathan respectively, have written to their members to consult them on the change which would see Ilford United Synagogue, in Beehive Lane, become the home of the new merged community.

The building would be refurbished and the shul renamed.

A joint statement released by Mr Nathan and Mr Callaghan said: “This is an extremely exciting proposal for both of our communities which we hope will meet the approval of our members.

“Combining our forces will create a vibrant, strong community of some 2,000 members.

“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.

“We look forward to engaging with our members on the consultation.”

Under the proposals, the higher top-tier fees paid by Ilford United Synagogue members would be reduced to match those paid by Redbridge United Synagogue in 2020.

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.

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.

Clayhall’s Jewish population, for example, reduced by 50pc between 2001 and 2011, according to 2013 report by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

Open consultation meetings for both communities are set to take place separately on October 30 and again in November 30.

If a majority of worshippers from both communities vote in favour of the proposals, the United Synagogue Council will vote to ratify the merger on December 17.

The new community is proposed to come into being by May 21 next year.

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