Reverend David Wolfson Memorial Lecture 2015

The Annual Wolfson Memorial Lecture was presented on Tuesday 28th April by Dr. Steven Wilson, Dr Wilson is the Chief Executive of the United Synagogue and told us that as the Chief Executive he is the professional lead for jointly developing strategy with our Trustees, and local HOs, and is charged with its implementation. He leads a team Head Office and across our communities and particularly focuses on the central departments covering – community development, finances, youth, kashrut, Beth Din, HR with varied responsibilities.

He was brought up in Wembley and has lived in orthodox communities, large and small, across London, the UK and internationally. He is also a former governor at Mathilda Marks Kennedy Jewish Primary School. Over the last 14 years he has led and held director-level roles at major national and international research organisations with a high degree of success and professionalism. His experience is primarily in working with and engaging a broad range of stakeholders to build consensus around new strategies, designing strategy implementation plans and monitoring organisational performance. The US believes this experience will be invaluable in guiding the organisation through the next stage of its development.

The audience, of members of the Synagogue and including the family of the late Reverend David Wolfson, was entertained as well as informed by his talk on the future strategies of the US and their hopes for the future. The success of the Chief Rabbi’s Initiative Programmes introduced last year was also mentioned.

Dr Wilson continued by giving us an outline of the US Way Forward intentions will:-

...focus on growing our community everywhere in the UK that Jews live, not simply manage its decline in places that Jews used to live.
...transform communities to become vibrant hubs of Jewish life that engage and inspire our members.
...ensure our communities are at the heart of everything we do.
...seek to be at the forefront of UK Jewry and will inspire our community with innovative initiatives such as the Chief Rabbi’s ShabbatUK.
...embrace change throughout the United Synagogue.

This was followed by a lively questions and answers session. Some of the topics raised included the future of the US in relation to Charedi and Progressive Judaism, whether the traditional service would ever be revised, and the position of Affiliated Synagogues.

The evening ended with refreshments being served and Dr Wilson chatting to many of the attendees.