Lib­er­als­makea push­for­growth

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community -

LIB­ERAL JU­DAISM is set to be­come “less po­lite and more pushy” about its achieve­ments in its ef­forts to reach both Jews and non-jews. The com­mit­ment was made by chief ex­ec­u­tive Rabbi Danny Rich to the move­ment’s bi­en­nial con­fer­ence in Glouces­ter­shire at the week­end, at­tended by more than 260 mem­bers.

Lead­ers aim to con­vey Lib­eral Jewish val­ues and prac­tices with greater clar­ity across its 35 com­mu­ni­ties and to have a louder voice in wider fo­rums.

“We have to stop be­ing apolo­getic,” Rabbi Rich told del­e­gates. “We have to stop look­ing over our shoul­ders. We have to re­mem­ber that we’ve got 200 years of Pro­gres­sive Jewish prac­tices be­hind us. We’ve got 110 years of Lib­eral Jewish ide­ol­ogy back­ing us up. We’ve got in­spir­ing rab­bis and teach­ers, we’ve got creative and hard-work­ing lay lead­ers and vol­un­teers.

“Most im­por­tant of all, we need to bring our val­ues to those men and women — Jew and non-jew alike — who have yet to find a spir­i­tual communal home which com­bines their con­cern for so­ci­ety with their de­sire for be­long­ing.”

Af­ter the con­fer­ence, Finch­ley Pro­gres­sive Syn­a­gogue’s Rabbi Re­becca Birk said it was “en­er­gis­ing, in­spir­ing and re­as­sur­ing that Lib­eral Ju­daism has an eye to the fu­ture, a creative take on thought­ful Lib­eral en­gage­ment and a keen com­mit­ment to tra­di­tional study and sources”.

Bris­tol and West Pro­gres­sive mem­ber Zara To­bias came away “more in­formed about Lib­eral Ju­daism. I met a lot of new peo­ple and I now feel surer of my­self as a Lib­eral Jew and more con­fi­dent in talk­ing to peo­ple about Lib­eral Ju­daism.”

Manch­ester Lib­eral trea­surer Phyl­lis Alden said the event had helped her “to feel part of a big group. It re­minded me that even com­ing, as I do, from a small com­mu­nity, there are a lot of like­minded peo­ple out there. I thor­oughly en­joyed the work­shops — par­tic­u­larly the one on leyn­ing.”

For Wes­sex Lib­eral chair Gil­lian Daw­son, the con­fer­ence made her think about “the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of hav­ing a gen­uinely in­clu­sive com­mu­nity — as Rabbi El­iz­a­beth Tik­vah Sarah said in her work­shop, ‘to fo­cus on the peo­ple who might feel them­selves on the mar­gins’”.

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