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Merger Project Management Committee

Terms of Reference

Project Team Name
Interim Council

This document describes the purpose, scope and desired outputs of the Interim Council tasked with establishing a unified structure, name and logo for the new community from January 1st 2017 and thereafter ensuring the gradual unification of all functions and processes of both synagogues such that everyone begins to feel they are part of a single Liberal Jewish community primarily serving the East London and West Essex area.

Scope of the Interim Council
  1. To allocate and progress the tasks that will unify structures in the short term.
  2. To identify and, where appropriate, commence the tasks necessary to unify structures in the longer term.
  3. To establish working parties as required and set clear terms of reference.   To monitor the functioning of the working parties so that each of them succeeds in a timely fashion. The working parties will be responsible for ensuring the effective unification of the two synagogues and developments for the future. 
The following groups will be established immediately and will have a long term role i.e.
·      Education, encompassing:
o   Children and Youth
o   Adults
·      Finance
·      Social Care/Welfare
·      Rites and practices
·      Social and Events
·      Membership (to include Burial)
·      Publicity and publications
·      Young Adults
·      Site management

The following groups may have a short term role, continuing until their tasks are completed;
·      Community Focus Group - advising on the integration process from a membership perspective
·      Property Group - reviewing current building provision and leading the search for a new property
  1. To review all staffing and contracts of employment, to recommend changes to both Councils while they continue to operate.
  2. To deliver all the above changes by methods in line with the principles and Affirmations of Liberal Judaism, and with due respect for the story of its predecessor communities.
  3. To initiate and model a culture for the new community that is enriching and fresh, enjoyable and fun, enabling and fulfilling. To seek innovative and enjoyable early successes (services, events, communications, etc.) that show the new community is more than merely an amalgam of its parts.

Authority and Reporting
The Interim Council has delegated authority from both councils to make provisional decisions, which will ultimately be put to the Board of Directors of the new company for ratification

Working parties, according to timelines set in their terms of reference, will be required to make reports to the Interim Council either in writing or in person.

The Interim Council will continue the practice established by the MPMC of making regular reports to synagogue members.

Initial members of the Interim Council, will be:

Jonny Hurst
Gary Freedman
Tina Gold
Ashley Marks
Mel Millenbach
Stewart Spivack
Bob Kamall
Elliott Porte
Alice Wilcock
Shirley Forbes
Paula Sumray
Richard Stevens

Co-opted/ex-officio members of the Interim Council

Rabbi Richard Jacobi
Rabbi David Hulbert

The Interim Council will invite additional members as required.  Including:

Ben Glassman
Merle Muswell
Sharon Law
Dan Rowson

Elected Council members from both synagogues will have voting rights should they be invited to attend the Interim Council.

Initially the Interim Council is tasked with delivering the wishes of both communities to bring together both Bet Tikvah and Woodford Liberal Synagogue into a vibrant single community which will eventually be co-located. 
Immediately, the Interim Council is tasked with ensuring that the new community has a new name and branding and is identifiable as such by 1st January 2017.
The Interim Council also needs to
  • ensure that the membership is kept fully informed of progress towards complete unification.
  • Listen as hard to members needing to grieve the passing of their synagogue as to those with exciting new ideas.
  • bring together financial processes and structures
  • ensure that all subgroups are carrying out their set tasks with due consideration to the timelines needed to provide an effective service to members.
  • Bring as many members through the change period as possible (target: no net loss of members by June 2017)

Joint Statement from the members of the Interim Council for the new community

2 November 2016

Since our last communication to you we are delighted that there has been such a positive response to all the activities that are now taking place to help us form our new community. 

New Community Name
Following consultation with members over the High Holy Days and at the Community Focus Group Meeting on 19 October, both existing synagogue councils came up with a shortlist of names for the new community which were subsequently considered by the Interim Council. At a meeting of the Interim Council on 31 October 2016, it was unanimously agreed that the English/legal name of the new community will be East London & Essex Liberal Synagogue. The Interim Council would like to thank all members for their excellent suggestions over the last month, which will now enable the team to proceed with the many and complex administrative steps which need to be completed in order for the new community to be 'up and running' by 1 January 2017. East London & Essex Liberal Synagogue will also take a Hebrew name and design a new logo, which will be determined at a later date. 

We hope that we will soon be sending all future communications out under the new heading.

10 and 31 October 2016: meetings of the Interim Council
At the first meeting of the Interim Council it was agreed that it would be led by co-Chairs Shirley Forbes and Bob Kamall as the synagogue Chairs are committed to their work with the respective synagogues until at least January 2017.  The role and functions of the Interim Council will be reviewed at a general meeting for members on the morning of 26 February 2017, full details of time and venue will be published shortly.
The Interim Council has also set Terms of Reference which outline the work of the Interim Council and the reporting structures to the separate synagogue councils.  The TOR establishes several working parties and task the Interim Council with drawing together the functions and processes of both synagogues into a unified structure.  The full text of these Terms of Reference can be found on the website and blog of the respective synagogues. 
The meetings have taken reports from the existing groups, which are detailed below and following the meeting on 31 October have started the process of establishing the remaining groups. 

18 October 2016: R&P The main task facing the R&P group is the location of possible venues for the Communal Seder and the High Holy Days in 2017.  The separate service rotas will become a single rota fully effective from 1 January 2017, although services will be offered at both sites.  R&P have also proposed that the first weekend services in January 2017 will both be joint services. 

R&P also proposed that from this point onwards the legacy synagogues are known by their addresses (Perryman’s Farm and Marlborough Road) rather than synagogue names.

18 October 2016: Finance Treasurers are making progress towards establishing the projected income and expenditure for the new community.  Their proposal which has been accepted by the Interim Council, subject to agreement from the administrators is that the Perryman’s Farm Road office becomes the main administrative office for the new community as it is larger than the office at Marlborough Road.

18 October 2016: Social Events Plans are in place for the Barn Dance and for a quiz early in 2017.  The Interim Council has asked the group to arrange some smaller events which will allow members of the two communities to meet and socialise without necessary being fund-raising events.

19 October 2016: Community Focus Group This meeting was well attended and focussed on the new name for the community and the need for volunteers to join working parties to help develop our new synagogue. 

The current decision making structure was explained – that the Interim Council has delegated authority from the two elected Councils to carry out the unification of the two communities but for the time being final authority rests with the elected councils.  This process will be reviewed regularly but is expected to continue until the first AGM of the new community.

27 October 2016: Property Action Group A very successful first meeting the Property Action Group has started to explore the potential value of the two sites and starting the search for a new building based on demographic surveys carried out by the MPMC.  The group will be chaired by Darren Green.

Meetings for the following groups are currently being arranged:
·      Adult Education – Shirley Forbes to lead
·      Cheder – First meeting on 10 November
·      Magazine/Publicity – Bob Kamall to lead

Existing group chairs have been asked to contact members who signed up to help at the Community Focus Group meeting.

The next meeting of the Interim Council will take place on 21 November.  If members would like to raise any matters with the Interim Council please contact either of the Co-chairs.

Shirley Forbes and Bob Kamall
Co-Chairs, Interim Council


October 2016

Joint Statement from the members of the Woodford Liberal Synagogue and Bet Tikvah Merger Project Management Committee ('MPMC')

9 October 2016

Following the momentous news on 25 September 2016, when the members of both synagogues voted overwhelmingly in favour of unifying the two communities from 1 January 2017, we are pleased to confirm that the MPMC met the following day, 26 September to plan for the future. We have now set up the inaugural meetings of the following groups:

-       10 October 2016: first meeting of the Interim Council
At this meeting, the existing officers and some of the current trustees of both synagogues will meet with the two rabbis in order to start planning key strategic short term and long-term goals. This group is, effectively a steering group which has delegated power from both existing councils to make provisional decisions which, in due course, will be put to the Board of Directors of the new community for ratification.
The initial members of the interim council are:
Gary Freedman (Chairman and Trustee, BT)
Jonny Hurst (Chair and Trustee, WLS)
Bob Kamall (Vice-Chair and Trustee, WLS)
Stewart Spivack (Vice-Chair, BT)
Alice Wilcock (Vice-Chair and Trustee, WLS)
Shirley Forbes (Council member and Trustee, BT)
Tina Gold (Treasurer and Trustee, WLS)
Ashley Marks (Treasurer, BT)
Mel Millenbach (Treasurer and Trustee, WLS)
Elliott Porte  (Council member, BT)
Richard Stevens (Council member and Trustee, WLS)

Up to two other members from each synagogue council will be co-opted to this group to see its work through to 1 January 2017.
Now that both communities have voted, the MPMC’s functions will be taken over by the Interim Council.

-       18 October 2016: meeting between Rabbis David Hulbert and Richard Jacobi with Ben Glassman and Elliott Porte from R&P
The R&P group has already done a lot of work bringing together the thinking behind the slightly different practices in both synagogues.  This meeting will start the process of putting that work into practice, looking at service rotas and minhag.  There will also be discussion about the High Holy Days in 2017 when we will be a single community.

-       19 October 2016: first meeting of the new Community Focus Group
This is an open meeting for all members of both synagogues and is taking place at Woodford Liberal Synagogue at 8pm on 19 October.  The aim of this meeting is to gather together as many members of the existing councils, committees and groups from both synagogues as possible, as well as the new community’s next generation of volunteers.  The purpose of this group will be to guide and advise the Interim Council on how we should deliver information and activities to members (e.g. its magazine, social events, education, membership, social care etc).
The most important item on the agenda will be the name of the new community. For legal and ‘lead-time’ reasons, the Interim Council requires the name of the new community to be settled by mid-November 2016 so we have sufficient time for this to be approved by the Charity Commission and for the necessary administrative and legal steps to be completed by 1 January 2017. The meeting on 19 October will be the first formal consultation step with members of both synagogues. Members are also encouraged to leave suggestions between now and 19 October in the suggestion boxes which are currently located at both synagogues or to email: jonnyhurst@hotmail.com  and sforbes55@virginmedia.com
Please make every effort to be there on 19 October if, as we hope, you want to play a part in your new vibrant community.

-       27 October 2016: first meeting of the Property and Buildings Group
We have a number of property-related experts who are members of both synagogues. They will be given terms of reference on 27 October by the Interim Council to research in the coming months and to ultimately advise how we may pursue the various options we have open to us to move into a single building.

The Interim Council will continue the MPMC practice of publishing regular reports to members.

Shirley Forbes, Jonny Hurst, Bob Kamall, Elliot Porte, Stewart Spivack and Richard Stevens
Merger Project Management Committee


August 2016
Dear Member,
Notification of EGM - Sunday, 25 September 2016
On the morning of Sunday 25 September 2016, the members of Woodford Liberal Synagogue and Bet Tikvah Synagogue will be holding separate extraordinary general meetings at each synagogue. At each EGM, members will be asked to vote on whether they wish for their respective synagogues to dissolve in their current forms and to re-form as a single, combined community. 
The Rabbis, Council and Officers of both synagogues as well as the Trustees of Bet Tikvah recommend a vote in favour of the above proposal for a number of reasons. We set out our key reasons below:
·       Rather than continuing independently, a single, larger combined community presents the best opportunity to maintain and grow a strong and lasting home for liberal and progressive Jews in East London/West Essex.
·       Although there are some differences between the two communities, as we are both liberal communities affiliated to Liberal Judaism, we share a great deal more in common.
·       During the last 18 months, we have demonstrated in the number of events we have run together that the two communities are capable of unifying successfully.
·       Considerable work has already gone into successfully harmonising keys aspects of synagogue life, such as the burial schemes which will remain unchanged.
·       A larger community should, in time, enjoy the benefit of economies of scale, particularly when the opportunity comes to operating ‘under one roof’ rather than two.
For the above proposal to be carried by Bet Tikvah Synagogue at the EGM, at least two-thirds of the votes cast by members need to be in favour, excluding abstentions and spoiled ballot papers. The proposal will only take effect if the members of Woodford Liberal Synagogue agree a proposal on similar terms pursuant to the terms of their constitution.
.Agenda on 25 September 2016
10.30 – 11.00        Tea and coffee
11.00 – 11.30        Start of EGM: short Q & A with members present.
11.30 – 12.00        Start of secret ballot of those members present.
12.00                     Close of secret ballot.
12.00 to 12.30      Counting and verification of the vote.
12.30                     Confidential phone call between two chairs and returning officers
12.45                     Announcement of outcome of the vote of both communities

Ballot papers
Please find attached your ballot paper and ballot envelope.
You may vote either:
·       in person on 25 September 2016 at the EGM using both the attached ballot paper and ballot envelope; or
·       by returning the ballot paper in the ballot envelope supplied to the synagogue office either in person or by post. If you do not intend to vote in person on 25 September and wish to use a postal vote, it is your responsibility to ensure that your ballot paper is safely received by the synagogue office.  Postal votes will not be counted unless they are returned in the ballot envelope bearing your bespoke ballot number.
All ballot papers sent by post/delivered to the synagogue in their respective ballot envelopes which are received by the Chair by the start of the EGM on 25 September 2016 will be counted, but please note that envelopes containing postal votes will not be opened until the votes are counted at 12 noon on 25 September.
In the meantime, any member who has a query in connection with the vote at the EGM on 25 September, please do not hesitate to contact Stewart, Elliott or Shirley.
Finally, if you intend to attend the EGM, please remember to bring your ballot paper and ballot envelope.
Kind regards
…………………………………..                                  …………………………………..
Gary Freedman , Chairman                                         Rabbi David Hulbert

Stewart - stewart.spivack@gmail.com  07806 536243
Shirley -
srforbes55@virginmedia.com   07756142810
Elliott - elliott.porte@ntlworld.com   07985 298204

June 2016

Following the joint council meeting, which took place on 31 January 2016, the Merger Consultation Document was published and members of both synagogues met separately on 28 February 2016 for consultation meetings.

Since then, the MPMC has continued to meet on a monthly basis and can report that:

·      We have held meetings with both Rabbis and discussions as to the future rabbinic leadership of the new community are ongoing.
·      WLS held its AGM on 26 May 2016, amending its constitution to provide for a dissolution clause and the procedure leading to a vote as to whether or not its members wish to establish a new single community.
·      Bet Tikvah’s AGM is due to take place on Sunday, 3 July 2016, at which a constitutional amendment allowing for postal votes for a dissolution vote will be proposed.
·      There have and continue to be a number of joint services between both communities: a joint service has been planned for Simchat Torah.
·      The vote: 11.00, Sunday, 25 September 2016.  Simultaneous EGMs will take place at each synagogue when each community, at the recommendation of their respective councils, will propose to dissolve and re-form as a single community. It is hoped that an announcement with the results will be made at around 12.30pm on the same day.
·      Ballot papers will be sent to members of both communities in good time, so that any who are unable to attend on 25 September 2016 have sufficient time to return a postal vote.

As always, if any member has any concerns or would like to discuss any of the issues relating to the merger please contact any member of the MPMC.

Shirley Forbes, Jonny Hurst, Bob Kamall, Elliot Porte, Stewart Spivack and Richard Stevens
The Merger Project Management Committee

 Merger Consultation Meeting
11 am - 1 pm February 28th 2016
Bet Tikvah Synagogue

Dear Members,

Further to our members meeting in 2015, we are now in a position to share the Draft of the Merger Consultation Document with you and invite you to join with the Trustees, Officers, Council and the Rabbi to discuss this document at a meeting to be held at the synagogue on February 28th at 11 am.

This meeting will be led by Shirley Forbes, Elliott Porte and Stewart Spivack our MPMC members.  Woodford Liberal Synagogue will be holding a meeting at the same time for their members.

Following separate Council meetings of both shuls in December 2015 and January 2016 and a meeting of both Councils with their Trustees and Rabbis held on 31st January 2016, we will be focussing on three key areas, as per the agenda below,  which were the areas discussed at the meeting  31st January.  As there is limited time at this meeting we will not be focussing on non-contentious topics, or indeed on more complex issues e.g. staffing and contracts of employment and details relating to the harmonising of the fee structure.

We acknowledge there may be differences of opinion on some issues but we ask that we approach the meeting with open minds and mutual respect for those who may not share our point of view.

For those receiving this letter by email, you will find a copy of the Merger Consultation Document attached.  The document and all appendices can be found on the Bet Tikvah blog.  If you are receiving this letter by post then please note that it is a large document and we are not able to send it out to all members.  There will be a copy of the document and its appendices available to read in the office.  If you would like a print copy, please contact Anne who will either send you a copy or ask for an email address she can send it to on your behalf.  A few print copies will be available on 28th February.

10.30 am Refreshments available

Agenda - all timings are approximate but the meeting will start promptly at 11.00 am
11.00 am Introduction
11.15 am Religious practice and related issues
12.00 noon Long term location strategy
12.30 pm Timeline of the merger
12.45 pm Conclusion

I look forward to seeing many of our members at this meeting.  Please do note, however, that the purpose of this meeting is to discuss progress towards the merger and to share information.  It is not an EGM and should any vote be taken, this will be to gauge opinion and will not be binding. 


Shirley Forbes, Elliott Porte, Stewart Spivack (MPMC, BT)

Cc Jonny Hurst, Bob Kamall, Richard Stevens (MPMC, WLS)

         Description: WLS topperDescription: et Tikvah Synagogue

Merger Consultation Document

14 February 2016

     Contents:                                                             Page No.
1.      Introduction                                                                 2
2.      Rites and Practices                                                     3
3.      Rabbinic leadership                                                     4
4.      Constitution                                                                 5
5.      Membership                                                                 6
6.      Finance                                                                       7
7.      Burial and Cremation                                                   8
8.      Education                                                                    9
9.      Social and Events                                                       10
10.   Building                                                                        11
11.   Concluding comments                                                  12


A:    Report of R & P Project Group
B:    B1 to B3 BT Accounts and WLS Accounts
C:    Burial and Cremation Schemes – a comparison
D:    D1 and D2 Overage tables 2015 for BT and WLS
E:    Membership maps  

Shirley Forbes, Jonny Hurst, Bob Kamall,
Elliott Porte, Stewart Spivack, Richard Stevens

Merger Project Management Committee

1. Introduction

1.1           Background
For the past year, senior members of Bet Tikvah Synagogue (‘BT’) and Woodford Liberal Synagogue (‘WLS’) have been considering the possibility of a merger of the two communities. The Merger Project Management Committee (‘MPMC’) was formed to identify what the communities have in common, where we differ and how a merger, if ratified by the members of each synagogue, might proceed.

1.2           Why merge?
Membership of both communities has been slowly but steadily declining in recent years: the reality is that each year the gains we make in new members are fewer than the number of members we sadly lose. Consequently, a merged synagogue with a combined membership in excess of 600 offers an opportunity to secure the medium to long-term future of both communities. Of course, there are many factors which need to be taken into account and planned for in order for both communities to reach a decision as to whether a merger is, ultimately, in their respective best interests. This document is the beginning of that decision-making process.

1.3           Provisional timeline
The timeline below shows the progress we have made to date and some of the key milestones there may be on the way to a possible merger on 1 January 2017.


       Late 2014       Early 2015        Mid 2015                    Mid/late 2015          Dec 2015               Jan/Feb 2016
       Initial talks    MPMC forms   Sub-committees   MPMC publishes             MCD                   1) 31 Jan joint council meeting
                                                         form and meet        monthly reports      first draft                2) Feb: MCD published
sent to councils     3) 28 Feb members’ consultation
                                  meetings at BT and WLS


       From Feb 2016       Jan-Sept 2016    24-26 June 2015      Mid 2016          Autumn 2016      1 Jan 2017
MPMC and sub-committees     More shared events       Community         MPMC to publish  EGMs to vote       Merger date,
action issues identified in            and services with                Weekend         Merger Proposal      for/against            if ratified
consultation meetings               increasing regularity                                          Document            the merger         

1.4           What is the purpose of this the Merger Consultation Document (‘MCD’)?
Its contents are:
·       focused more on principle and strategy, rather than the minutiae, although you will find plenty of detail in the appendices;
·       to be used as a trigger for dialogue between members to identify issues which may need to be covered before EGMs of both synagogues are convened in the Autumn of 2016 to decide whether or not to merge.

1.5           How is the MCD structured?
There are executive summaries of nine separate functions or features of the two synagogues, comparing what the two communities share in common and identifying where we differ. In some cases, options are identified as possible solutions/ways forward, but none of these options have been pre-determined by anyone. The role of the MPMC has been to consider some of the goals a merged community might have, and how we might achieve them. We are now sharing our thoughts with you, including the minutes of the first joint meeting of both councils which discussed several of the key issues on 31 January. Please take this document at face-value – as a catalyst for discussion. Your comments and feedback are most certainly welcome, for that is the main objective of this stage of the process.

2. Rites and Practices

2.1       Background
Both synagogues have R&P/Religious Affairs committees and so it was decided to bring together a representative group from these committees to form the R&P Project Team. Under its terms of reference, the R&P Project Team has looked to highlight where similarities exist but also to show the differences in approach and minchag - when and where they arise.

2.2       Findings
The R&P Project Team’s detailed analysis of Shabbat and festival services (see Appendix A) reveals that, overall, there are substantial similarities between the practices of both synagogues but differences do exist. In the main these differences relate to:
·       Variations in the reading of the Torah and structuring of Shabbat services. Whereas BT follows the ULPS lectionary of weekly parasha, WLS uses the three-year Torah cycle, indispersed with a number of monthly study services where the Torah is not read. Both synagogues have family services although WLS has a less formal approach e.g. the Torah is not always read.
·       Whereas both synagogues use Siddur Lev Chadash, WLS tends to vary its services more than BT.
·       The scrolls are paraded each Shabbat morning in BT but this practice is not followed in WLS, except on Erev Simchat Torah.
·       WLS does not hold festival morning services.
·       BT takes a more ‘traditional’ approach to the wearing of kippot by males and expects one to be worn with the tallit, as appropriate. WLS takes the view that this is a matter of discretion for the individual, although in practice the vast majority of males wear a kippah and the majority of males wear the tallit.
·       The wearing of the kippah and tallit is a matter of discretion for females at both WLS and BT, with a minority wearing either or both at WLS and BT.
·       WLS regularly has an organ accompaniment at services. BT tends to use their organist during Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur services and Simchat Torah.  Both synagogues are active in encouraging children and young people to take part in services.

Several of the above differences of approach were discussed at the joint council/trustees meeting on 31 January (see the minutes of that meeting at Section 11 of this document). The choice of lectionary (see the first bullet point above) was not discussed on 31 January, but that is one area where further discussion is also still required.

2.3       Conclusions
While it is right that these differences are highlighted, the R&P Project Team does not envisage any of these issues to be obstructions to the merger process.  Discussions are ongoing between representatives of the two congregations in order to find ways forward and appropriate compromises. In fact, this process has already started as the minutes of the joint council/trustees meeting on 31 January 2016 show. Although no binding agreements were made on any of the issues discussed on 31 January, the minutes record the ‘consensus position’ of the majority of those present.

Wherever possible, jointly agreed positions on such issues should be reached and published in the Merger Proposal Document.

3. Rabbinic leadership

3.1       Background
Both communities have enjoyed a long, happy and fruitful relationship with their existing rabbis:  
·       Rabbi David Hulbert, who has been at BT for 25 years and currently works on a 50% contract; and
·       Rabbi Richard Jacobi, has served as the rabbi at WLS for over 7 years, approximately four years of which has been on a 100% contract. Confidential negotiations are presently ongoing with regard to a change in the terms and conditions of his contract of employment.

3.2       Possible rabbinic models
When considering the rabbinic provision for a merged community, the present incumbents are, clearly, at the forefront of our minds. That said, the MPMC has been obliged to consider a number of possible future rabbinic models should the merger proceed, a non-exclusive list of which includes:

·     The retention of the existing rabbis on terms and conditions to be agreed;
·     The combination of a senior rabbi plus a more junior or student rabbi; and
·     A single, senior rabbi.

3.3       Consultation
Whilst some tentative, informal discussions have taken place with each rabbi, it has, thus far, been premature to explore the detail, not least because the picture of what a new merged community might look like needs to be clearer for such discussions to be meaningful. However, both rabbis have indicated that they are interested in continuing to serve a merged community. It is the MPMC’s intention to explore such discussions with both rabbis shortly after each synagogue’s Consultation Meeting in 2016

4. Constitution

4.1        Background
BT and WLS are both currently unincorporated associations, which are registered charities. The day to day functions of each synagogue is overseen by their respective elected councils. However, while all members of WLS’s council are trustees of WLS, the trustees of BT do not serve on BT’s council.

4.2        WLS’s change of status to a Company limited by guarantee
It is considered both good practice and preferable for a synagogue to be a company limited by guarantee, as opposed to an unincorporated association. This is because the directors and members of a limited company are not potentially liable for the debts of the company, whereas the trustees and members of an unincorporated association risk personal exposure in the event that the unincorporated association is unable to pay its debts. Following a similar procedure adopted by Liberal Judaism, WLS is in the process of forming a company limited by guarantee. The intention is that WLS’s assets will be transferred to the company in 2016 once the approval of the Charity Commissioners has been obtained. WLS would then operate through the company instead of the current unincorporated association. The change in WLS’s legal status will happen irrespective of the outcome of any merger vote.

4.3        Status of the merged community
The MPMC recommends that the merged synagogue should be a company limited by guarantee and that it makes practical sense to use WLS’s company as the vehicle for the merged community. So, if and when a merger is agreed:
·     the assets of BT would be transferred to the company;
·     pre-agreed amendments to the constitution of the company would be made to move the company from WLS’s constitution to the pre-agreed constitution of the merged synagogues; and
·     the company would change its name to the name of the merged synagogue.

4.4        Structure of the merged community
·     Ownership: A company limited by guarantee does not have shareholders. Instead, all full members of the synagogue will be members of the company, each guaranteeing the debts of the company, limited to £1 per member. In other words, in the unlikely event that the company went insolvent, the limit of any member’s liability would be their £1 guarantee.
·     Management: The company would be run by a Board of Directors, which would be the new synagogue’s council. To avoid confusion, the Board would still be referred to as the ‘Council’.
·     Charitable Trustees: The company would still be a registered charity. It is proposed that those members of the company who hold the traditional synagogue positions of Chair, Vice Chair(s), Honorary Secretary and Treasurer(s) would be the charitable trustees, all of whom would also be required to be directors of the company.

4.5          The composition of the Board of the company (i.e. the Council)
It is envisaged that 12-14 directors will be elected by the members of the merged community to form the Board/Council of the merged synagogue.

4.6       Presidents, Life Vice-Presidents and annually elected Vice Presidents
These positions will filled at the first meeting of members after the merger.

5. Membership

5.1  Background
There are a number of ways in which a formal relationship is capable of being made with each synagogue:
·       Full member’ – for Jewish members aged 21 or over (both BT and WLS);
·       Associate member’ - WLS: children of WLS members aged between 16 and 21; BT: as per ‘Associate Member’ in 5.2 below.
·       Junior Member’ - BT: for Jewish members aged between 21 and 25
·       Friend’ - WLS only: for non-Jewish persons, which is popular with partners of Jewish members and persons undergoing a conversion programme. Friends do not have voting rights but they pay the equivalent of the full membership fee and have full burial/cremation rights.       

5.2  Proposed membership/association classes of the merged synagogue:
Subject to the comments of members, the MPMC is considering recommending the following for the merged synagogue:
·     ‘Full member’ – as above for Jewish members aged 21 or over;
·     Youth member’ – open for any Jewish young person between the aged of 18 and 25 years, who has all the rights of a Full member, the only distinction being a discounted membership fee which is set annually by the Treasurers.
·     Associate member’: a person who is a full member of another synagogue (e.g. to preserve burial/funeral arrangements) but who wishes to retain a relationship with the merged synagogue.[1]
·     Child member’ – children under the age of 18 of Full members, Youth Members and Friends. They shall be automatically members of the merged synagogue with Burial and Cremation rights but no voting rights.
·     Friend’ – as above and not strictly ‘members’. For non-Jewish persons only.

5.3    What will membership of the merged synagogue include?
Membership of the merged synagogue will come with a number of ‘benefits (including but not limited to)’:
·       membership of the Edgwarebury and Cheshunt Burial and Cremation Scheme;
·       the right to attend services, social events and meetings of the members of the synagogue;
·       eligibility to serve on the synagogue council and council committees;
·       the right to vote at general meetings.

These rights are NOT severable in consideration for a discounted fee. The only exceptions are in respect of:
·       Associate members (see above), who have funeral provision at another synagogue where they are still a member; and
·       Full members who are NOT members of another synagogue but who have maintained burial arrangements at another synagogue.

6. Finance

6.1       Background: The 2016 membership fees for BT and WLS are:

Synagogue fees: Single/Couple £218 / £410 £285 / £560 
Burial contributions and ground fees £70 / £140 £65 / £130
Total: (Single/Couple) £288 / £550 £350 / £690

6.2       Accounts
Copies of the last set of accounts for each synagogue filed at the Charities Commission are attached at Appendices B1 to B3.

6.3       Meeting of treasurers
The treasurers of the synagogues have met and have compared present expenditure and projected expenditure post-merger. Expenditure for the last completed financial year for both BT and WLS was compared line by line. Most expenditure is comparable pro rata to membership. The main differences are:
·       the cost of the Rabbis: due to the significant difference in hours and expenses, WLS overall expenditure is much higher than BT. This broadly explains the differential in the membership fees.
·       the cost of administrators and caretakers: BT employs an administrator for more hours than WLS and their caretaker also undertakes minor repairs and upkeep of the building. BT pays around £3,000 more p.a. for these services.

6.4       What initial savings will there be if there is a merger?
If the merger proceeds, whilst there are still two buildings to run and maintain, assuming all things remain equal, the only initial savings which the Treasurers envisage are in the printing of the synagogue magazine as only one would be required. However, this is not expected to be a significant saving.

6.5       What would happen to the financial systems after a merger?        
·       The records/systems will need to be integrated. WLS uses Sage whereas BT use an Excel system. The merged synagogue would probably move to the more sophisticated Sage software as this seems to be the more comprehensive accounting platform.
·       Synchronising accounting years and the annual review of fees will be needed. BT is moving to a calendar membership year for 2016 like WLS.

6.7       How do the synagogues’ various other fees compare?

B’nei Mitzvah Ask for a £100 donation £250 plus £25 per lesson
Cheder N/A £80 per year per child
HHD tickets Ask for a donation from non-members (but not from family of members) £25 per ticket for non-members
Membership £270 (2015) £340 (2015)
Weddings £550 in the synagogue, £700 at other locations. £700 plus £120 for the hire of a minibus to transport the choir when in another location, distance more than 20 miles.
It may take around two years after a merger for the membership fee structure to be harmonised. Other fees are capable of harmonisation from the date of any merger.

7. Burial and Cremation

7.1       Background
Both BT and WLS are members of LJ’s Edgwarebury and Cheshunt Burial and Cremation Scheme (the ‘LJ Scheme’). Such membership would continue post-merger. Each synagogue operates its own ‘sub-scheme’ for administering the funerals of its members (the ‘BT Scheme’ and the ‘WLS Scheme’ respectively).

7.2       WLS Scheme and BT Scheme compared
A table comparing the two existing schemes is attached at Appendix C. The schemes are substantially similar. It is not envisaged that there will be any difficulty in harmonising the terms of both schemes and separating the combined schemes’ funds in accounts purely dedicated to administering the funerals of members of the merged community.

7.3       How much money do the two schemes currently hold?
The combined sum of over £270,000: BT holds approximately £165,000 and WLS in excess of £105,000. Given the age demographics of each congregation, these figures are broadly similar (as BT’s average age is higher). With around £450 per member under the control of the combined scheme, it is considered a healthy position to be in.

7.4       How have the BT and WLS Schemes been financed? Will this change?
Part of the membership fees of both synagogues (and the fees for Friends of WLS) covers the annual cost of running the BT Scheme (£30 for 2015) and the WLS Scheme (£25 for 2015) as well as Ground Fees which are levied centrally on both communities by LJ (£40 for 2015). The latter covers the cost of maintaining and running LJ’s cemeteries at Edgwarebury and Cheshunt as well as the crematorium costs for cremations.

7.5       What are the entrance requirements?
LJ levies a one off entrance fee (‘overage’) for new members aged 55 and over. In addition, WLS charges an overage to new members who join aged 50 and over. BT has a similar policy of new members aged 45 and over. In all cases, the older the new member, the higher the overage. This is necessary in order to ‘equalise’ contributions of members who wish to join the scheme later in life. It has been suggested that the merged community’s scheme will levy an overage charge from the age of 50 so as not to be a deterrent to young families joining.

Overage fees need to be paid in full by BT members before they are admitted to the BT Scheme. At WLS, in the few cases where an overage has been paid in instalments, as long as all due instalments have been paid, as agreed, then the member is admitted to and remains in the WLS Scheme.

By way of an example, the WLS 2015 overage table can be found at Appendix D1. The BT equivalent is found at Appendix D2.

8. Education

8.1   Background (Cheder)
WLS’s cheder has become increasingly popular over the last eight years, largely as a consequence of former cheder head teacher, Josh Newham’s hard work, management and curriculum. Josh stepped down as the head teacher in September shortly before he became a father. The cheder is still thriving under its new leadership with around 25-30 students on the Cheder/Yachdav/Kabbalat Torah programmes. WLS has a tradition of developing some of its post-B’nei Mitzvah children into cheder teachers/support staff and this is expected to continue.

8.2  Current and proposed Cheder arrangements
From September 2015, due to there being only two students on the roll, it was agreed that BT would discontinue its cheder and encourage its students to attend WLS’s cheder. One BT family now sends its children to WLS’s cheder. The merged community’s cheder would continue at WLS for the time being.

8.3  Cheder Fees
WLS currently charges £80 per annum per child as a contribution towards the overall cost of the cheder. The cheder is not and will not ever be self-funding; it is a service provided by the synagogue to the children of its adult members and will continue to be funded, for the most part, from central funds.  Although BT did not charge for their cheder, their current and future members will make the same contributions for their children as the parents of WLS members.

8.4  B’nei Mitzvah teaching
B’nei Mitzvah services will continue to be held at the student’s ‘home’ synagogue, with the ‘home’ synagogue’s rabbi being responsible overall for the supervision and preparation of the student. WLS has introduced an optional programme for B’Nei Mitzvah children on Monday evenings during term time during which both group and one-to one tuition takes place at a charge of £25]per evening. Students have been and will continue to be taught their portion outside the ‘Monday night club’. Subject to exceptions which may be made in the case of students with specific learning support issues, any student who wishes to celebrate their B’nei Mitzvah will we expected to have attended the cheder at WLS for at least two years prior to the date of their B’nei Mitzvah.

8.5  B’nei Mitzvah fees
       See 6.7 above.

8.6  Adult education
·         BT: Rabbi David Hulbert runs Kedem at BT for two terms per year: two topics per term, which starts after HHD and re-starts in the new year. There is no charge for BT members, although non-shul members pay a voluntary contribution. It runs in total for around 20 weeks per year.
·         WLS: Study Buddies runs infrequently in 4 to 6 week blocks four or five times per year.   There are/are no fees for attending Study Buddies.
·         Post-merger: It makes sense to co-ordinate or merge the two adult education programmes in accordance with rabbinic advice and subject to the comments of the regular attendees, which will be sought.

9. Social & Events

9.1       Background
The two synagogues have, for some time on an ad hoc basis, invited members to each other’s events. This has developed over the last 12 months to the extent that there have been and continue to be more social events which are open to members of both communities.  It is the MPMC’s belief that if the communities are to merge successfully, we need to establish a single social events calendar, which are striving to do for 2016.

9.2       What cross-community events have taken place?
Since the merger was raised as a possibility, we have held a number of joint services and the following successful events have been held, which have included:
·       Danny Rich addressing members of BT and WLS (at BT);
·       Ladies Quiz (at BT);
·       Music Event (at WLS)
·       Combined Quiz (All Saints Church, Woodford Green)

9.3       What cross-community events are taking place in 2016?
The following events are already being planned for 2016:
·       Community Weekend in Danbury (24-26 June)
·       Barn dance (September 2016)

In addition, guest speakers and entertainers are being contacted to arrange dates for other cross-community events as well organised tours and museum visits.

10. Buildings

10.1     Background
Both communities own the freehold titles of their respective buildings at Marlborough Road and Perrymans Farm Road. Various valuations have been obtained on both sites in 2015, the combined value of which is upwards of £1.4m, without planning permission. Planning permission for redevelopment on either site is likely to increase the overall valuation substantially.

10.2     Will we move before the merger?
No. The plan is that if we do merge, we do so as one community with two buildings, at least for the short to medium term. It is acknowledged by the MPMC that some members from both communities, particularly longstanding ones, have a strong attachment to their current spiritual home. One of the few decisions which the MPMC has made is that if a merger is to happen, it will not be delayed until a suitable site to accommodate the merged community is identified, bought and developed/refurbished. In the same way that, these days, a married couple does not necessarily each sell up their individual homes for something ‘bigger’ or ‘better’ to start immediately on their wedding day, the same applies to the possible union between BT and WLS.  A ‘two site solution’ (if you will) – at least on a temporary basis – is, the way forward IF the communities decide to merge. If there is a meeting of minds – on a practical, religious and ideological basis, the merger should work and the finding of permanent home can wait until the right opportunity arises, or until the merged community ‘naturally’ feels the pull in one direction or the other.  To do everything simultaneously risks the wrong decision being made (i.e. rushing into acquiring a compromise location which, ultimately, pleases no one) or delaying everything indefinitely because the ‘right’ location cannot be found.

10.3     What are the long term location possibilities?
·       Redeveloping either site and selling the other;
·       A new location (if both existing properties are sold).
-      e.g. Sinclair House, but that site lacks easy links to public transport.
·     A ‘Mosaic model’ based on the model adopted by Middlesex New Synagogue, Hatch End Masorti and Harrow & Wembley Progressive, which resulted in a single, 1,200-member community.
·     A cross-community/multi-faith site: this is something which London Borough of Redbridge might be interested in exploring.

10.4     How might we identify the ‘right’ location?
There is no single factor which will determine the long term location(s) of a merged community. Members must have realistic expectations as to how and when the ‘right’ location may emerge. Work has been undertaken by the MPMC to map where the members of each synagogue currently live and their ages – see Appendix E. This data will be a useful reference point when future locations are being considered, but other critical factors which will need to be considered include:
·       The wishes of members who are actively involved at either synagogue (for any reason), as opposed to those who NEVER attend either synagogue;
·       The proximity of public transport links;
·       Affordability;
·       Parking facilities; and
·       The location of new members/the anticipated location of future members.

Concluding comments

Now that you have read the Merger Consultation Document, it is also recommended that you read the minutes of the joint meeting of the councils/trustees of both synagogues which took place on 31 January 2016.

Please do remember that the purpose of this document is that it is to be used by the rabbis, councils and members of both synagogues to promote discussion of key issues relating to the proposed merger and how we might resolve them. We have not sought to provide all the ‘answers’, but it is hoped that the work we have done thus far will help us all, collectively, to make an informed decision in due course as to what is in the best interests of each of our communities.

Shirley Forbes, Jonny Hurst, Bob Kamall,
Elliott Porte, Stewart Spivack, Richard Stevens

Merger Project Management Committee

14 February 2016 

[1] This does not include members who transfer between LJ-affiliated synagogues who are part of the Edgwarebury and Cheshunt Burial and Cremation Scheme: they become full members of their new synagogue with burial/cremation arrangements (but not synagogue membership) retained at their previous synagogue
[2] BT’s fees will increase by £7 per member for most classes of membership from 1 April 2016.

Joint Statement from the members of the Woodford Liberal Synagogue and Bet Tikvah Merger Project Management Committee ('MPMC')

December 2015

We are pleased to inform members that following the recent MPMC meeting, we have now drawn together the reports from the various sub-groups into a draft Merger Consultation Document (‘MCD’) and are working on the final version of the MCD, which will shortly be shared with the rabbis and lay leaders of both communities.
We have also now established the timetable for the consultation process which was outlined in our last statement. 
·      Both Councils will have met by mid-January to discuss the MCD. 
·      On the morning of Sunday, 31st January, there will be a joint meeting of the councils, rabbis and other leaders of both communities to review the MCD and discuss key issues. The start time will be confirmed shortly.
·      Members of both communities will then be invited to separate meetings on Sunday, 28th February, to review the MCD and discuss key issues.  Further details will be sent out early in 2016. Please diarise this date now!

The MPMC will continue to meet regularly to review feedback after each meeting and to ensure that the consultation process is open to everyone.
Again, we would also remind members that, at the present time, while we are beginning to see the positive ways in which this merger may impact on both communities, no decision has been taken as yet.  Any final decision must to be taken at separate extraordinary general meetings (‘EGMs’) of the members of each synagogue.  At some point in 2016, probably after the High Holy Days, the MPMC may recommend to both Councils that they hold EGMs to hold a formal vote on whether the two synagogues should merge.
As always, if any member has any concerns or would like to discuss any of the issues relating to the merger please contact any member of the MPMC.

Shirley Forbes, Jonny Hurst, Bob Kamall, Elliot Porte, Stewart Spivack
 and Richard Stevens
The Merger Project Management Committee

 Statement from the members of the Woodford Liberal Synagogue and Bet Tikvah Merger Project Management Committee ('MPMC')

November 2015

We are pleased to inform members that following the recent MPMC meeting,  we are now drawing together reports from the various sub-groups into a draft Merger Consultation Document.

We aim to circulate the Merger Consultation Document in December, initially to the rabbis and council members of both synagogues only, for discussion and feedback. The plan is to incorporate any such feedback in a revised version of the Merger Consultation Document, which will be published and distributed to the members of both synagogues in early 2016, following which separate members’ consultation meetings will take place at each synagogue.

The Merger Consultation Document will show how the groups working on the merger view the way a merged synagogue might look and will give members the opportunity to engage in the ongoing discussion about the merger.

During 2016, as explained in earlier updates, we will be holding further joint events, including more combined services so that members of both synagogues can begin to get an increasing sense of how we could operate as one community.

We would also remind members that, at the present time, while we are beginning to see the positive ways in which this merger may impact on both communities, no decision has been taken as yet.  Any final decision must to be taken at separate extraordinary general meetings (‘EGMs’) of the members of each synagogue.  At some point in 2016, probably after the High Holy Days, the MPMC may recommend to both Councils that they hold EGMs to hold a formal vote on whether the two synagogues should merge.

As always, if any member has any concerns or would like to discuss any of the issues relating to the merger please contact any member of the MPMC.

Shirley Forbes, Jonny Hurst, Bob Kamall, Elliot Porte, Stewart Spivack & Richard Stevens
The Merger Project Management Committee

20th October 2015

Joint statement from the Woodford Liberal Synagogue and Bet Tikvah Merger Project Management Committee ('MPMC')

The MPMC met again for the first time since the the summer holidays, shortly after the HHD.  We are pleased to report that we are still on track to produce a Merger Consultation Document which we intend to put before separate meetings of the members of each synagogue before the end of 2015. As previously advised, this document and the consultation meetings are members' opportunity to feed back to the MPMC on the process and some of the plans we have. It will not be until some time into 2016 that EGMs of both communities would be called for a formal vote.

 Part of the MPMC's strategy in this process has been (and continues to be) to hold more joint events and services, so  that the two communities do almost become 'one' at least for a short time, by the HHD in 2016. This does not mean that a merger is a 'fair accompli. Far from it. The MPMC believes that members will be better informed to vote for or against a merger having had the experience of more combined events and services, than the occasional ones which we have held successfully this far.

 One of the centre-pieces of the next 12 months will be a combined community weekend on 24/25/26 June in the Essex countryside. Overnight accommodation at a modest price will be available and the venues we have in mind are all within an hour of both synagogues, so members will also have the option of coming for the day.  As well as being an excellent way of bringing both communities closer together, the weekend promises 'something for all' - whether you are nine (or younger) or ninety - Friday and Shabbat services in the open air (possibly in a marquee - weather permitting), workshops and physical activities for both children and adults.  Please reserve the weekend in your diaries.

 More details regarding all of the above will be published in our next monthly update.
As always, if any member has any concerns or would like to discuss any of the issues relating to the merger please contact any member of the MPMC.

Shirley Forbes, Jonny Hurst, Bob Kamall, Elliot Porte, Stewart Spivack and Richard Stevens
The Merger Project Management Committee

12th July 2015

Update from the members of the Woodford Liberal Synagogue and Bet Tikvah Merger Project Management Committee ('MPMC')

Since publishing our joint statement dated 10 June 2015, the MPMC is pleased to report that good progress is being made with regard to the possible merger of the two synagogues. The MPMC is now instructing the various sub-committees to make written proposals as to:

·     the further pre-merger steps which now need to be taken to harmonise the key functions of both synagogues (e.g. regarding services, burial and cremation, membership etc); and

·     how the merged synagogue may operate post-merger in relation to those key functions, constitutional matters, rabbinic leadership and the strategy in relation to identifying the long-term location of the ‘home’ of the merged community.

The MPMC will then publish and circulate a merger consultation document (‘MCD’) in the Autumn which contains the above proposals. Following publication of the MCD, each community will hold separate consultation meetings (date to be confirmed in due course), the purpose of which will be:

·     to explain and discuss the proposals in more detail;
·     to ascertain the extent of support within each community for each proposal;
·     for alternative proposals (where appropriate) to be referred back to the MPMC and sub-committees for further consideration.

No final decision ‘to merge’ or ‘not to merge’ will be made at these consultation meetings. If and when the MPMC is of the opinion that a common vision is shared by a significant proportion of both communities and is ready to recommend that the merger goes ahead, each synagogue will be asked to hold an extraordinary general meeting to vote on the potential merger.

Shalom and warm regards,

Shirley Forbes, Jonny Hurst, Bob Kamall, Elliot Porte, Stewart Spivack and
Richard Stevens
The Merger Project Management Committee

12 July 2015

10th June 2015


Joint Statement from the members of the Woodford Liberal Synagogue and Bet Tikvah Merger Project Management Committee ('MPMC')

As members of both Woodford Liberal Synagogue (‘WLS’) and Bet Tikvah (‘BT’) are aware, the councils of both communities have been given a mandate by their respective members to explore the possibility of a merger. As a consequence, the Merger Project Management Committee ('MPMC') was created.

The MPMC has had initial meetings and is now meeting monthly to review progress towards the merger.  The purpose of this statement, issued by the MPMC, is to provide members with information as to how these discussions are progressing.  Following each meeting, the MPMC intends sending further statements summarising developments.

The MPMC has created a number of small sub-committees comprised of members from both communities to discuss how we could possibly harmonise the main functions of the two synagogues should the merger proceed. It is not the intention of this statement to disseminate the minutiae of every discussion of each sub-committee. However, the MPMC is acutely aware that the membership of both synagogues will expect and require to be consulted and informed as to the progress being made in these discussions, which will, of course, be reported to each council on a regular basis. If and when negotiations are at a more advanced stage and BEFORE any merger resolution is put separately to the members of WLS and BT, each synagogue will hold at least one further closed meeting of its members, perhaps in the Autumn of 2015.   At such meetings, each synagogue’s members of the MPMC and those serving on the merger sub-committees will report, answer questions and promote discussion on key issues.

It is still ‘early days’ but we believe members would find it useful to read the table below, which sets out the current position in respect of each of the merger sub-committees.

If the two synagogues are to merge successfully, the MPMC believes that the first step is to bring the communities closer together by meeting socially and sharing community events. So, what steps have we made/are we making in this regard?

1.            On 2 June 2015, Danny Rich, the Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism, addressed members of both communities at BT. Having met both chairs, Jonny Hurst and Stewart Spivack, earlier in the evening, Danny spoke widely on the subjects of inclusivity, respect and compromise, all of which are key issues in any merger discussions. Danny's address was followed by a Q and A session and refreshments. For those who did not attend, the mood was optimistic and convivial and the MPMC believes that the evening has helped to lay strong foundations for further discussions. Thanks go to BT for hosting and David Gold for acting as the MC, as well as Danny Rich for sparing his time and sharing his thoughts with us all.

2.            The MPMC recognises that Woodford's vibrant cheder is one of its strengths. So, from September 2015, the synagogues will have one cheder, which will be run from Woodford. The reason for this is that Woodford's cheder has grown year on year for the last 8 years (with around 30 children currently on the cheder/Kabbalat Torah register). In contrast, Bet Tikvah only currently has two children who regularly attend its cheder. 

3.            WLS will be hosting a Ladies Quiz for members of both communities on Tuesday 14th July.  

4.            A Simchat Torah service for both communities will take place on 11/12 October 2015, when we will honour two members of each community.    

5.            We will be holding joint Shabbat Services on 18 July 2015 at WLS and 8 August 2015 at BT and hope that many members from both communities will be able to attend.

The table below shows the sub-committee membership and progress:

WLS member(s)
BT member(s)
Latest position
Burial and Cremation
Jonny Hurst
Stewart Spivack
Brief, initial discussions have taken place. A longer meeting is planned in June/July between Stewart and Jonny to explore a plan to harmonise the Burial and Cremation Schemes of WLS and BT if the merger proceeds. The early indications are that this will be achievable.
(WLS New Generations Committee)
Di Kamall
Sharon Pinhas
Emma Sandler
Josh Newham
Emma James
Marco Lieberskind
Michelle Marks

We are waiting for confirmation of the second member

Because a merger of the chadarim is happening from September 2015, instead of forming another merger sub-committee, two members of BT have been invited to join WLS’ New Generations Committee, whose remit includes WLS’s cheder.
Events, Membership
David Gold
Jenny Sclaire Ruth Harris
Sue Powell
Paula Sumray
Helen Freedman
Jackie Morrison

2 June: Danny Rich/Social at BT.

14 July: Ladies Quiz at WLS.
Merle Muswell Simon Rothstein
David Forbes
Judith Konzon
This group will start work in the autumn to bring together synagogue publications and share information about progress with the wider community.
Tina Gold
Mel Millenbach
Ashley Marks
Sidney Sanders
Rob Konzon
The Finance group have had a number of meetings and have been asked to submit their first update to the MPMC July meeting.
Jonny Hurst
Ben Fryer
Shirley Forbes
John Morrison
A meeting is taking place on 17 June to make progress on the contents of the possible constitution.
Membership Data Group
Warran Rolnis
Adrian Samuels
Stewart Spivack
Ashley Marks
A joint initiative is taking place to collate the postcodes of the members of both WLS and BT and to reflect this data on a map. This may help to inform us as to the optimum location should the merger proceed.
Ian Wynch
Edward Taub
Ivor Kirstein
John Morrison
Zachary Forbes
Valuations of both buildings are to be obtained. Real estate agents are then to be instructed to look for premises in the London Borough of Redbridge.

Rites and Practices
Hilton  Ellis
Jan Ellis
Ben Glassman
Alice Wilcock

Gary Freedman
Sidney Sanders
Michelle Marks
Elliott Porte
A meeting took place on 1 June when matters of the religious practices and principles of both shuls were discussed.  A further meeting is scheduled for 3 August to make progress on the issues discussed. While there are, as expected, some areas of difference which will need further consideration, the MPMC is pleased to report that there is considerable common ground.

We hope you will appreciate the extensive work which has already been put into exploring the merger of our two communities. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking members of all the merger sub-committees for their ongoing commitment and effort to this project. 

Finally, the MPMC recognises that talk of possible changes will, for some members, cause anxiety. The ultimate decision as to whether or not the merger proceeds will, of course, remain solely with the members of both communities. It is a complicated process and, consequently, it is fair to say that neither outcome is more or less likely at this stage. Should members have any particular queries or concerns, please do email or telephone your synagogue's current chair.

WLS: Jonny Hurst chair@woodfordliberal.org.uk 07973 361479
BT: Stewart Spivack stewart.spivack@gmail.com 07806 536243
Shalom and warm regards,

Shirley Forbes, Jonny Hurst, Bob Kamall, Elliot Porte, Stewart Spivack and

Richard Stevens

The Merger Project Management Committee

10 June 2015