Sacks­back­slord­sre­form

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY SI­MON ROCKER

REP­RE­SEN­TA­TIVES OF Bri­tain’s ma­jor faiths should have seats in a reformed House of Lords along­side Angli­can bish­ops, ac­cord­ing to a par­lia­men­tary re­port pub­lished this week.

The idea of in­clud­ing re­li­gious fig­ures was backed by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, who sub­mit­ted writ­ten ev­i­dence to the com­mit­tee.

While the Church of Eng­land, as the es­tab­lished Church, should take most of the re­li­gious seats, the Chief Rabbi ar­gued, the Lords should in­clude a broader Chris­tian rep­re­sen­ta­tion as well as from other faiths.

“Mi­nori­ties should be rep­re­sented among the Lords Spir­i­tual as faith com­mu­ni­ties, not as eth­nic groups,” he wrote.

But their rep­re­sen­ta­tives should be cho­sen “ad per­sonam, not ex of­fi­cio”, that is, on their per­sonal mer­its, not by virtue of communal of­fice.

Rabbi Laura Jan­ner-klaus­ner, rab­binic spokesman for the Re­form move­ment, said a reformed Lords “should re­flect the di­ver­sity of our na­tion.

“We know that the United Syn­a­gogue’s Chief Rabbi is not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the whole Jewish com­mu­nity. If he were to be in the House of Lords ex of­fi­cio, then this would quickly be­come anachro­nis­tic if cur­rent com­mu­nity de­mo­graphic trends con­tinue, lead­ing to the Pro­gres­sive move­ments be­com­ing larger than the United Syn­a­gogue.”

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Jewish Year Book, there are 67 Jewish peers, in­clud­ing Baroness Neu­berger, orig­i­nally a Libdem peer who moved to the cross­benches af­ter be­com­ing se­nior rabbi of West London Syn­a­gogue last year.

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