Raising the voice of Reform
That is why she is now writing a book on the transference of religious power, “from the ivory tower to grassroots movements”.
A feminist, the great-niece of the late Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie, who read divinity at Cambridge University before she enrolled at Leo Baeck College in 2004, says she is “super grateful to the women in the generation before me who put up with all the rubbish”.
Though she works with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis on common issues from the Holocaust and antisemitism — she believes his widely hailed Limmud visit last year was blown out of proportion.
“The bar was set pretty low before,” she says. “It’s the largest, most vibrant Jewish event. Obviously, he should have come. It’s outrageous he didn’t before.”
The North Western Reform Synagogue member believes: “We undo a lot of the trauma. We get an enormous amount of, ‘I was treated badly in Orthodoxy. How can I comfort my partner?’
“There is a very strong difference in how the Reform Movement treats conversions. Our concern is that people who want to be Jewish can be. I believe everyone is a Jew by choice.
“My driving force is to give people on the margins a voice. That’s what I’m passionate about.”
The former South Hampstead School pupil sees her strong teenage spirit in her three children — Tali, Natan and Ella — and would not be surprised if they too became rabbis. For now, she lives in east Finchley with her husband David, a former director at the UJIA, but they have not ruled out making aliyah in the future.
“I’m much more Israeli in my personality, but I really adore living in Britain,” she says polishing off a bag of nuts at the end of our interview.
“I’m very much a split soul. I spend my life backwards and forwards. I am global warming.
“But aliyah? I’m certainly not ruling it out.”
Rabbi JannerKlausner with Baroness Neuberger, the senior rabbi at West London Synagogue