Re­form launches out­reach arm as al­ter­na­tive to Aish

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY SI­MON ROCKER

THE RE­FORM move­ment is about to take the first step to launch an al­ter­na­tive to Aish, the Or­tho­dox out­reach or­gan­i­sa­tion for young adults.

A res­i­den­tial week­end next month will be the in­au­gu­ral event by the As­sem­bly of Re­form Rab­bis to of­fer a “non-fun­da­men­tal­ist” al­ter­na­tive.

Rabbi Mark Gold­smith, of Lon­don’s North-West­ern Re­form Syn­a­gogue — who is lead­ing the ini­tia­tive with Rabbi Neil Am­swych of Bournemouth Re­form Syn­a­gogue — said: “The As­sem­bly wants to try to pro­vide the qual­ity of in­put for young adults that or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Aish do.”

Aish — which en­joyed an in­come of more than £3 mil­lion in 2005 — is ac­tive in pro­vid­ing pro­grammes for young Jewish adults with heav­ily sub­sidised trips abroad, Fri­day-night din­ners and other so­cial and ed­u­ca­tional events.

R a b b i G o l d - smith said: “We know that many young Jews, who don’t sub­scribe to the be­liefs that Aish stands for, still re­ally en­joy Aish events be­cause they are well-planned, well-ex­e­cuted and well-sup­ported by rab­bis. We want to pro­vide a non­fun­da­men­tal­ist model of true Jewish en­gage­ment.”

The week­end, to be held in Worces­ter, is be­ing of­fered at £35 a head, with spon­sor­ship from the Re­form move­ment and pri­vate donors.

“We know that 18- to 2 5 - y e a r - ol ds don’t have se­ri­ous money,” said Rabbi Gold­smith. “We want them to be able to make the choice to come them­selves and not ask their par­ents to pay.

“ We’ r e c a l l - ing it ‘Real Ques­tions Given Straight An­swers’, where peo­ple can put ques­tions on any as­pect of Ju­daism and life. It’s the first time we’ve done this with this level of rab­binic in­put. We’re plan­ning to have five rab­bis for 25 par­tic­i­pants.”

The As­sem­bly ini­tia­tive has the work­ing ti­tle Mayim Chaim (Liv­ing Wa­ter) and is be­ing run in con­junc­tion with Jeneration, the web­site for young adults which also has a cam­pus arm. The Re­form-backed site in­cludes in­for­ma­tion on Lib­eral and Ma­sorti ac­tiv­i­ties.

Rabbi Neil Am­swych

PHOTO: BEN TURNER

Rabbi Mark Gold­smith: Seeks “a non- fun­da­men­tal­ist

al­ter­na­tive”

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