Yom Rivii, 1 AdarI 5776
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Biennial Print E-mail

As we enter 2016 are thoughts are becoming more focused on Liberal Judaism’s Biennial Conference. In 2014 we saw over 300 Liberal Jews flock to Reading for a wonderful weekend of learning and socialising. This conference is promising to build on that enthusiasm and dynamism and once again we are seeing bookings coming in thick and fast from regular attendees to first timers. The Early Bird discount ends at the end of February and so if you have not registered now is the time to do it.

We are delighted to be able to announce that this year we will have a scholar in residence. Rabbi Dr Dalia Marx. Rabbi Marx is the Associate Professor of Liturgy and Midrash at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem. As well as her many research projects and a passion for promoting liberal Judaism in Israel, she was the editor of the new Israeli Reform Siddur. She is a wonderful teacher and educator and her workshops promise to be inspiring.

Liberal Judaism is in the initial stages of thinking about developing a new Siddur. The process of thinking about the need, content, context and methodology is in itself an exciting opportunity. This conference is not aimed at producing a book, but rather a chance to think ‘Outside the Book’ – what are the things which engage and motivate our communities, what are we passionate about, what drives our theology, practice and engagement. Through creative services, workshops and practical skills we will aim to look at the multitude of ways we are inspired to think ‘Outside the Book’ which may inspire the future of our new book.

This Biennial will offer a packed schedule of stimulating and thought-provoking tracks – Media and the Jewish Press (The BBC, Board of Deputies and Local Press), Alternative Culture (Mindfullness, Twillight People, Museum curators), Film/Literature (creative writing workshops, authors, spoken word), Food (chefs, stories, recipes, education tools), Social Action (NIF, youth engagement, refugees, practical steps), Music (scratch choir, how to engage your community, telling your stories via music), Prayer and Liturgy (where we look for inspiration, sources, new ways to pray,language), all which will equal a diverse and inspirational weekend. We will look at a range of topics and workshops involving writers, artists and musicians who have developed community projects, Rabbis and speakers who have studied and researched and want to teach about topics that inspire communities to move forward and develop.

To give you a taste before we release the final programme: we will ask questions about identity and the future of community while exploring the intricacies of where liturgy emerges from and whether it has the potential to lead to action, what social action projects have worked and where we could do more, when are grass root activities the way forward. Also why is it that food brings people together and speaks to our deepest sense of self, how do we use language in prayer, music workshops tailor-made to inspire prayer and developing new resources in order for us to experiment and hear voices from different places. What is the place of film, art and culture in our communities? Throw into the mix inspiring speakers and leading voices in the wider Jewish world, hard questions about social action, a jam-packed youth schedule, and a very special community project around creating talitot, and you have a weekend that aims to combine study with practical explorations of what it means to enliven and enrich our congregations and our own personal spiritual, cultural and social Jewish lives.

The full programme will be in the next edition of LJ Today.

Of course the social aspect of Biennial is always an essential part of the weekend, with plenty of opportunities to see old friends and make new ones, learn, discuss, share, sing and pray in a warm and friendly environment. Book now online, in order to secure your place, by following the link http://tinyurl.com/bien2016 or for more information call Aaron at the Montagu Centre on 020 7631 9830.