Rais­ing Pro­gres­sive voice on Is­rael is rabbi’s desk job

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY JOSH JACK­MAN

RABBI CHARLEY Ba­gin­sky is leav­ing Kingston Lib­eral Syn­a­gogue af­ter 10 years to es­tab­lish an Is­rael desk for the Al­liance for Pro­gres­sive Ju­daism.

The co-op­er­a­tion agree­ment be­tween Lib­eral Ju­daism and the Move­ment for Re­form Ju­daism was an­nounced in Septem­ber 2014. But as Rabbi Ba­gin­sky ad­mits, it has had lim­ited im­pact to date.

T h i s was p a r t l y at­trib­ut­able to not hav­ing a per­son driv­ing it for­ward. “Ev­ery­one has a day job, so it’s not nec­es­sar­ily moved as fast as we would’ve liked it to on Sign­ing in: Rabbi Charley Ba­gin­sky joint projects,” she said. “If you look at the his­tory be­tween the two move­ments, we’ve got very dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters. We can’t be un­re­al­is­tic and have to re­alise that new projects take time.” Hav­ing been in­volved in the launch of theal­liance,Rab­biBa­gin­sky,37,was ea­ger to take a greater in­volve­ment. “I think we’ve got a lot to of­fer each other and there are many ar­eas in which we can be stronger speak­ing with one voice, rather than two. Our mem­bers will ap­pre­ci­ate us do­ing that where we can.

“The en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm is still there, but there’s a recog­ni­tion that it needs­some­one­to­take on pro­ject man­age­ment if we’re go­ing to de­velop fur­ther.”

She saw her role as pro­vid­ing “a plat­form to talk about Is­rael to en­sure we’re re­spond­ing to our con­gre­ga­tions and de­vel­op­ing re­la­tions be­tween the di­as­pora and Is­rael”.

Rabbi Ba­gin­sky re­jected the sug­ges­tion that el­e­ments of the Pro­gres­sive com­mu­nity had a strained re­la­tion­ship with Is­rael. The ap­proach of both move­ments, she said, was “crit­i­cal and en­gaged. Will it al­ways be un­equiv­o­cal sup­port for what­ever the Is­raeli govern­ment does? No. But that doesn’t mean our re­la­tion­ship with Is­rael has waned. There’s a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween not be­ing en­thu­si­as­tic about Is­rael and be­ing a crit­i­cal friend when needed.”

The mother-of-three said she would work from the move­ments’ re­spec­tive head­quar­ters in cen­tral Lon­don and Finch­ley and hoped to have the Is­rael desk up and run­ning by Pe­sach.

From May, she will also serve South Bucks Jewish Com­mu­nity on a part­time ba­sis.

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