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The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY SI­MON ROCKER

THE CHIEF Rabbi of the United He­brew Con­gre­ga­tions of the Com­mon­wealth — to give the post its full ti­tle — has some­times been seen as our equiv­a­lent to the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury. Just as the arch­bishop heads the Church of Eng­land, the state’s of­fi­cial church, so the chief rabbi leads UK’S largest Jewish de­nom­i­na­tion.

But with the growth of both non-Or­tho­doxy on the left and Charedi Ju­daism on the right, his po­si­tion as the Jewish com­mu­nity’s pre-em­i­nent re­li­gious spokesman has in­creas­ingly been called into ques­tion. Nonethe­less, the Pro­gres­sive move­ments have re­sisted the idea of set­ting up an al­ter­na­tive chief rab­binate, de­scrib­ing it as alien to their ide­ol­ogy.

There are three rea­sons why Re­form Ju­daism does not need such a post, ac­cord­ing to Rabbi Mark Gold­smith, prin­ci­pal rabbi of Lon­don’s North-west­ern Re­form Synagogue and chair of the Assem­bly of Re­form Rab­bis UK.

“Firstly, ev­ery Re­form Jew is re­spon­si­ble for his or her own Jewish de­ci­sions. They look to their rab­bis for guid­ance in the light of Jewish tra­di­tion, but not to de­cide for them,” he said.

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