Page 8 LJ Today
Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to unite THE NEIGHBOURING Herefordshire Jewish Community (HJC) and Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Community (GLJC) are to amalgamate to form one new united Liberal Judaism congregation in the region. A coming together service is planned for Saturday 20 July when the new congregation will be officially formed. It will take the title of Three Counties Liberal Jewish Community (3CLJC) and have around 160 members. This inaugural Shabbat will be led by Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, and Student Rabbi Lev Taylor, who will serve the new community. HJC – which also serves parts of Worcestershire and Monmouthshire – has been in existence for 27 years, holding many memorable events including its annual Anne Frank service attended by civic and interfaith representatives.
When in Rome
LIBERAL and Reform Judaism rabbis from the UK attended the European Union for Progressive Judaism (EUPJ) Shabbaton and European Rabbinic Assembly (ERA) Kallah in Rome. The ERA is chaired by Rabbi Dr René Pfertzel of Kingston Liberal Synagogue. Others attending included Liberal Judaism president Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein and Rabbi Jackie Tabick, who is head of the EUPJ Beit Din, as well as Liberal Judaism’s Rabbis Alexandra Wright, Janet Darley and Mark Solomon. The Shabbaton was held at Beth Hillel Rome to coincide with the Progressive community’s fifth anniversary. Delegates from 10 different countries took part. The ERA Kallah took place on the Sunday and Monday. The Rabbinic gathering started with a short historical, cultural and religious profile of Italian Jewry, before many deliberations on the important issues facing Progressive Judaism and its rabbinate in Europe.
However, it has struggled in recent years to maintain attendances at services and, with a council of only four long serving members, entered into discussions with the Gloucestershire congregation – which was set up in 2008 – with a view to form a new community serving a wider area. HJC chair Mark Walton said: “We have been working closely with GLJC for a number of years and are excited about joining a bigger community with more to offer our members.” Natalie Towle, chair of GLJC, added: “We are delighted to welcome HJC to join GLJC as we amalgamate to form Three Counties Liberal Jewish Community. We look forward to the next months and years as a bigger community covering a wider area.” Gloucestershire also recently said goodbye to their current rabbi, Rabbi Anna Gerrard, in a joint service with HJC.
BREAKING NEWS: Bob and Ann Kirk of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue and George Vulkan, a member of Mosaic Liberal Synagogue, were all awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their contribution to Holocaust education and remembrance in the UK. Full story in the next issue.
Award for LJ Patrons LIBERAL JUDAISM Patrons Leslie and Dee Bergman have received the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) International Humanitarian Award. They were honoured, along with Leslie’s brother Stanley and his wife Marion, at a gala dinner in New York. Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, said: “Leslie and Dee have shown a serious intellectual, practical and financial commitment to the wellbeing of Progressive Judaism in the UK.”
Anna – who has decided to take a break from the rabbinate – has served the community since 2009, first as a student rabbi and then as rabbi after her ordination in 2011. David Naydorf, the president of GLJC, presented a gift to Anna to thank her for her years of service to the community and for helping it grow to where it is today. Anna was also presented with a gift on behalf of HJC before a special Kiddush (pictured) was held in her honour.
Praise for LJ projects
LIBERAL JUDAISM’S heritage project manager Shaan Knan was a keynote speaker at this year’s Stonewall Workplace Conference. Shaan was part of the event’s closing session debating issues around LGBT and faith, featuring on a panel with representatives from various religions. Taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster, Stonewall’s annual flagship event is Europe’s leading conference on lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) inclusion in the workplace Shaan said: ‘It was such an honour to discuss what we have achieved at Liberal Judaism, in terms of equality and inclusion in the workplace, with such a big and distinguished audience and fellow panellists. People commented that they felt really inspired by our LGBTQI+ projects such as Rainbow Jews and Twilight People. It shows that we all have the power to change hearts and minds!”