Jeremy Jacobs ( Letters, July 29) stated that Orthodoxy accounts for 69 per cent of UK synagogue membership and, in his Comment article ( JC August 12), adjusted this to 70 per cent. But, according to research carried out by David Graham and Daniel Vulkan, published on the Board of Deputies website, central Orthodoxy, to which the United Synagogue belongs, has 55 per cent of synagogue membership in the UK.
Central Orthodoxy, according to this research, lost 20,808 member households over a 20-year period, representing a decline of 31.4 per cent.
I believe it to be disingenuous of Mr Jacobs to attack Reform Judaism, which, over the same period, lost only 4.2 per cent of its membership base and grew as a percentage. Growth in Orthodoxy was in the strictly Orthodox community only. Non-Orthodox streams of Judaism grew by around five per cent over this 20-year period.
Jacobs uses Progressive Judaism in the USA as an example of a shrinking and assimilating community, yet fails to acknowledge why his own congregation is the fastest shrinking in the UK. Steven Barnett Finchley Road, NW11
My wife and I are United Synagogue members and heartily endorse Jeremy Jacobs’s opinion. The Jewish religion needs to have strict rules at the top to retain Judaism for future generations, whether or not these rules are followed by US members.
When I asked a non-frum, US member friend why he did not join a Reform synagogue, the reply was: “How many or few of the laws of Judaism I keep is my business, and there is no reason for the laws to be watered down for my benefit”. H I Stone Lodge Close, Edgware, Middlesex