Ma­sorti ex­pands re­gion­ally in Bris­tol fash­ion

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY JOSH JACKMAN

A BRIS­TOL con­gre­ga­tion has joined the ranks of Ma­sorti Ju­daism as part of the move­ment’s ex­pan­sion plans in the re­gions.

Fol­low­ing its ap­proval by Ma­sorti’s board of trus­tees, Bris­tol held its first of­fi­cial Shab­bat at the week­end with Rabbi Oliver Joseph of­fi­ci­at­ing.

Rabbi Joseph, 33, who grew up as part of Ma­sorti’s youth or­gan­i­sa­tion, Noam, has been tasked with iden­ti­fy­ing lo­cal groups the move­ment can help grow.

The aim is to add an­other two con­gre­ga­tions over the next year.

The min­is­ter said the Bris­tol group had a “nice turnout” of around 15 peo­ple for the first Shab­bat. “It was a lovely crowd. We had an af­ter­noon ser­vice with a bit of learn­ing. The peo­ple who showed up were in­ter­ested in Ma­sorti life and what it could be like in Bris­tol. Peo­ple were ex­cited to have a tra­di­tional egal­i­tar­ian ser­vice. “There’s a lot of po­ten­tial in Bris­tol and lots of young Jewish fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als i n the wider area, in­clud­ing Bath, who aren’t show­ing up for com­mu­nity events. So we per­ceive there’s a gap in the mar­ket Ma­sorti Ju­daism could be fill­ing.”

The Bris­tol con­gre­ga­tion comes hot on the heels of a Liver­pool Ma­sorti group and the New Whetstone Syn­a­gogue in north Lon­don be­ing re­launched with a fam­ily-friendly Kab­balat Shab­bat.

Ma­sorti Ju­daism chief ex­ec­u­tive Matt Plen said New Whetstone was at­tract­ing a reg­u­lar minyan and had been “rein­vig­o­rated. In the past few months, the syn­a­gogue has re­sumed its sta­tus as a vi­able com­mu­nity and we’re very pleased to sup­port that.”

Mr Plen added that there were plans to re-en­er­gise two chavu­rah groups in Lon­don, with Rabbi Joseph look­ing to get more un­der-35s in­volved in them.

The min­is­ter wanted to en­cour­age “dy­namic and en­gaged par­tic­i­pa­tion in com­mu­nity life for young adults who are not nec­es­sar­ily com­mit­ted to, or in­trigued by, reg­u­lar syn­a­gogue ser­vices but who are pas­sion­ate about com­mu­nity events”.

A group in Liver­pool has also been es­tab­lished

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