7 June 2016
Award-winning writer and broadcaster Cole Moreton, Guardian journalist Jessica Elgot and Imam Sayed Ali Razawi will all take part in the Liberal Judaism Biennial Conference.
The Biennial, which takes place from July 1-3 at The St Johns Hotel in the Midlands, is the biggest Liberal Judaism event of the year and has the theme of ‘Thinking Outside The Book’.
Cole – whose latest book Is God Still An Englishman? How We Lost Our Faith (But Found New Soul) has just been released – will take part in a keynote discussion on that theme with Rabbi Dr David J Goldberg, author and rabbi emeritus of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue. The session will be introduced by Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich.
Cole was named Interviewer of the Year at the Press Awards and makes regular radio and television appearances, including presenting on BBC Radio 4. Through all his work, Cole seeks to explore who we are and what we believe in.
The Guardian’s Jessica Elgot – who has also worked for publications including The Huffington Post and Jewish Chronicle – will chair a panel looking at the recent debate and controversy surrounding antisemitism and anti-Zionism in Britain.
The panel will include Gillian Merron, chief executive of the Board of Deputies and a former Labour MP, and Liberal Judaism’s deputy chair Lucian J Hudson.
Imam Sayed Ali Razawi will team up with Rabbi Danny Rich for a session entitled ‘Shia or Sunni? Extreme or More Extreme? Ramadan or Eid?’
Sayed is one of Britain’s most senior Shia clerics, as well as an international speaker and teacher. The session will give Biennial participants an opportunity to ask any questions about Islam, and explore how Jewish communities might better work with their Muslim neighbours.
In addition, Rabbi Dr Dalia Marx, associate professor of liturgy and Midrash at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem. will be the Biennial’s scholar in residence.
Rabbi Charley Baginsky, who chairs the Biennial Conference organising committee, said: “We are very excited by the range of speakers and presenters for the Biennial. It is the perfect combination of a showcase of the wonderful and dynamic rabbis and lay leaders within the movement and external speakers who will challenge us to think outside the book.
“It’s an honour to be able to welcome Cole Morton, often provocative, sometimes controversial and always passionate, articulate and thought provoking. Jessica Elgot provides a cool mediation on what can be a very controversial topic, pushing the panel to get to the heart of the issue. Always at the forefront of interfaith it is essential for us to have Sayed with us, forcing us to challenge our preconceptions.
“Dalia Marx is at the cutting edge of new liturgical development and her scholar in residency status means we will be able to study and delve into the challenges and most importantly opportunities that lie ahead of us.”
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