Lib­er­als of­fer Rich learn­ing po­ten­tial

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

RABBI DANNY Rich, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Lib­eral Ju­daism, will be get­ting stuck into clas­si­cal Jewish ju­rispru­dence at a dis­cus­sion group next Thurs­day lunchtime.

He will be lead­ing the first of a planned monthly se­ries of Mish­nah study, one of a num­ber new ac­tiv­i­ties de­signed to raise the pro­file of the Mon­tagu Centre, Lib­eral Ju­daism’s cen­tral Lon­don head­quar­ters.

“I chose [trac­tate] San­hedrin be­cause of my in­ter­est in crim­i­nal jus­tice,” he ex­plained.

The Mon­tagu, he said, “has served as a very ef­fec­tive ad­min­is­tra­tive centre and meet­ing place since the 1950s. I want us to do more there as a reli­gious and spir­i­tual centre.

“My even­tual hope would be to have a Tal­mud class, a Bible class and one on phi­los­o­phy or lit­er­a­ture. We have to start some­where.”

A monthly Mon­day morn­ing shacharit ser­vice has also been launched.

But next week’s Mish­nah group is tak­ing place in his home in Bar­net as, since the mid­dle of last month, the Mon­tagu Centre has been un­der­go­ing emer­gency re­pairs af­ter a sewage pipe burst in the premises above. “The walls and equip­ment have had to be de­con­tam­i­nated and cup­boards and car­pets stripped,” Rabbi Rich ex­plained.

Staff have ei­ther been work­ing from home or found tem­po­rary refuge in Lib­eral syn­a­gogues in St John’s Wood, Finchley and south Lon­don, or with other or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Bicom, Ort, the Move­ment for Re­form Ju­daism and Leo Baeck Col­lege.

But they hope to re­turn to their head­quar­ters af­ter Pe­sach.

Since au­tumn, the Mon­tagu Centre has been host­ing the He­brew Univer­sity’s Mel­ton adult ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme jointly with the Lyons In­sti­tute of West Lon­don Syn­a­gogue. Stu­dents al­ter­nate weekly be­tween Rabbi Danny Rich

is keen to ex­pand ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­ity at the Mon­tagu Centre HQ

the Lib­eral HQ and West Lon­don.

Aside from the ed­u­ca­tional ini­tia­tives, Rabbi Jac­qui Tabick has joined the West Cen­tral Syn­a­gogue — which is housed in the Mon­tagu Centre and was un­dam­aged by the sewage leak — as part-time min­is­ter.

West Cen­tral is unique in hold­ing its main Shab­bat ser­vice in the mid­dle of Satur­day af­ter­noon.

And there will be more Shab­bat us­age of the building af­ter Pe­sach when the Beit Klal Yis­rael Syn­a­gogue moves from Not­ting Hill.

“There will be a Shab­bat eve ser­vice ev­ery Fri­day night, held ei­ther by BKY or the stu­dent egal­i­tar­ian minyan,” Rabbi Rich said. “And there will be a Shab­bat morn­ing ser­vice at least twice a month.”

The new ven­ture, he hopes, “will at­tract people who work, live or study lo­cally. We’re up­ping our ed­u­ca­tional game.”

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