Following the decision taken by West London Synagogue (WLS) to suspend its membership of the Movement for Reform Judaism (MRJ) in February 2020, MRJ and WLS have engaged in amicable discussions. Because of the passage of time, however, MRJ will inform its general meeting of members on 26 February 2023 that WLS’s membership of MRJ is automatically terminated.
This is due to a provision in MRJ’s constitution (Articles of Association) which stipulates that if a member synagogue of MRJ is in arrears with payment of fees for more than two years it will forfeit its membership at the next general meeting of members.
Throughout its suspension, WLS has disputed the claim that it has incurred or owes fees to MRJ. Both parties have, however, agreed that they will continue discussions to find a solution that will open the way to WLS resuming membership of MRJ, if and when the time is right.
“Our Reform Movement is a strong family of communities and an event like this affects us all,” explained Michael Harris, co-Chair of MRJ. “Of course, we are very disappointed that West London Synagogue will be leaving MRJ. We have both expended huge efforts to try and find a way for WLS to stay. Now, we need to move on. We have the vision to build a vibrant and sustainable Reform Jewish home for everyone. Our synagogues are equal partners, and we support each other. We are satisfied that our key activities will remain unaffected by this development. It must be said, though, we are willing and ready to welcome West London Synagogue back, at any time in the future,” he added.
Andrew Stone, the WLS chair said “We are sorry that our discussions have not led to an arrangement that would have enabled West London Synagogue to resume membership of MRJ. We intend to continue our dialogue with MRJ in the hope that we will in the future resolve all differences.”
Richard Slowe, a WLS Vice Chair added “Since 1840, when West London Synagogue was established as the first Reform synagogue in the UK, it has supported the wider Progressive Jewish community. It remains part of that community and will work with all its constituent members to sustain Progressive Judaism as a vibrant alternative to Orthodoxy.”