Over a number of years, the three Manchester Reform communities have collaborated in many different ways. In recent times, the three chairs have been meeting to support each other and through this have begun to explore possible options for the future of Progressive Judaism in Manchester.

It is clear that there is a unique opportunity at this moment to explore closer work together: both Jacksons Row and Menorah have, or are about to have, rabbinic/clergy vacancies. Moreover, the selling of the Jackson’s Row building, and the vision of its leadership, gives a new possibility for ambition across the city in terms of cooperation and collaboration.

As a result of these factors, and the evolving cooperation between the three communities, it is felt that it is worth actively exploring options for collaboration between the Progressive Jewish communities of Manchester and the North West.

On Tuesday night, 30 January, the Boards of the three synagogues came together in what was a significant first for the Manchester Reform communities. They were joined by the leads of the Progressive movements, Rabbis Josh Levy and Charley Baginsky and the MRJ Head of Community Partnership, Sarita Robinson.

It was an open and creative conversation, looking at multiple options and recognising the needs of each community.

In the meeting the communities shared their current needs, opportunities and challenges. Together they looked at opportunities for innovation, as well as hearing about models of collaboration that are emerging around the country and elsewhere in the world, as well as how the Movement might support next steps.

There was a shared sense that this conversation is worth exploring. As we take the conversation forward we will continue to consult and speak with the communities in lots of different ways.

Danny Franks, President, Manchester Reform Synagogue

Laura Cohen, Chair Menorah Synagogue

Marissa Goldstone, Chair, Sha’arei Shalom Synagogue