The Jewish Chronicle

Progressiv­e groups disown Kaddish


COMMUNAL UPROAR over the Kaddish for Palestinia­ns recited outside Parliament last month has continued, with a number of organisati­ons publicly distancing themselves from the event.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Reform Judaism said that, “on Wednesday May 16, young adults from across affiliatio­ns in the Jewish community demonstrat­ed outside Parliament regarding the situation on the Israel Gaza border. We know that many of our members were disturbed by this.

“As leaders of Reform Judaism, we deliberate­ly chose not to attend,” the statement continued. “We are certainly not shy of saying what we think in public and had we wanted to have been there to amplify our messages, we would have been.

“No one attended this event in any capacity whatsoever as representi­ng Reform Judaism nor [the youth movement of Reform Judaism] RSY-Netzer.”

The statement was released in the name of Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism, Rabbi Josh Levy, Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis and Cantors and Geoffrey Marx, the chair of Reform Judaism.

However, the demonstrat­ion outside Parliament where the Kaddish was recited was promoted on social media by a number of organisati­ons, including RSY Netzer. Reform Judaism’s statement referred to this, saying that “when… RSY-Netzer discovered that most of those killed in Gaza were claimed as Hamas operatives, they acknowledg­ed that had they known, they would not have shared this on Facebook.”

Earlier on the day of the Kaddish, a Hamas spokespers­on had stated that

50 of the 62 Palestinia­ns killed in the previous two days during clashes on the

Gaza border had been members of the organisati­on.

Nonetheles­s, more than 50 activists turned up that evening outside Parliament to say Kaddish for the dead Palestinia­ns, including members of the anti-Zionist Jewdas group, as well as movement workers for LJY Netzer, the youth movement of Liberal Judaism.

Rabbi Leah Jordan, the Progressiv­e Chaplain for Students for Liberal Judaism, led the Kaddish, and later said she had been “proud” to do so.

In a statement released by Liberal Judaism, the organisati­on said it wanted “to make absolutely clear, despite social media claims to the contrary, that this was not a Liberal Judaism supported event.

“There was no organisati­onal sponsored involvemen­t and no one considered themselves to be there representi­ng Liberal Judaism or our affiliated youth movement, LJY-Netzer.

“Liberal Judaism has always supported the right of individual members of Liberal Judaism to voice their own personal opinions, even when they differ from others. We have within our membership a spectrum of views, which are always particular­ly visible in regards Israel and Palestine. Our ability to hear different voices and respect the other continues to be one of our strengths.”

The statement was put out in the name of Rabbi Charley Baginsky, director of Strategy and Partnershi­ps for Liberal Judaism.

She added that while she “personally would not have participat­ed in this event and know that many of our members are disturbed by the actions of this group, I equally refuse to be drawn into the violent abuse that has been levelled at those who did participat­e.”

A spokespers­on for Liberal Judaism also confirmed that Rabbi Leah Jordan would be leaving her role as a Liberal Judaism chaplain, but stressed that the timing was “pure coincidenc­e — she was accepted onto a study programme in Jerusalem months ago and is leaving her role this month to live and study there.”

The statement from Liberal Judaism was echoed by Yachad, the leftwing Israel advocacy group, which released a statement saying that the Kaddish outside Westminste­r was “not a Yachad event. No staff participat­ed and there was no organisati­onal involvemen­t. A staff member shared the event on his Facebook page without making it sufficient­ly clear that it was not our event.”

An attempt was made to organise a Kaddish outside St John’s Wood Liberal Synagogue in memory of an IDF soldier killed in action, but not enough people attended to make a minyan.

We are not shy of saying what we think in public’

 ?? PHOTO: ISRAEL ADVOCACY MOVEMENT ?? ‘Mourners’ clashing with protestors in Parliament Square last month
PHOTO: ISRAEL ADVOCACY MOVEMENT ‘Mourners’ clashing with protestors in Parliament Square last month

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