Raising Progressive voice on Israel is rabbi’s desk job
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.