Yom Rishon, 29 Kislev 5775
Hanukkah Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Liberal Judaism’s Fairtrade Chanukkah

Liberal Judaism included Fairtrade Chanukkah gelt in its student Chanukkah packs for the first time this year.

The opportunity to send Divine fair trade milk chocolate coins came through the Jewish Sustainability Movement.

The pack also included a menorah, dreidel, candles and a greetings card from Liberal Judaism’s youth movement LJY-Netzer, as well as blessings and learnings from Rabbi Leah Jordan.

chunakkah_packs_2014Rabbi Leah, who is Liberal Judaism’s student and young adult chaplain, said: “We sent 200 packs to Progressive Jewish students on more than 20 university campuses in the UK and Israel.

“The chance to include Fairtrade gelt for the first time was very important to us – as the principles of fair trade are very close to those of Liberal Judaism.

“Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers.”

Enter Liberal Judaism’s LAFTA Awards

Liberal Judaism’s cheders and religion schools are invited to compete in this year’s Liberal Academy of Film and Torah Awards (LAFTAs).

The young people of each Liberal community are asked to submit a short film on the topic of ‘A Day in the Life of Israel’.

The top entries will be shown at Liberal Judaism’s Day of Celebration event on June 7, with the winning community awarded the coveted LAFTA trophy.

Films are to be between two and three minutes and will be judged on creativity, humour, youth participation, artistic merit and overall brilliance.

An education pack will be sent to communities by the end of January. The deadline for film submission is May 1. For more information please email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Deputy PM writes to Liberal Judaism

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has written to Liberal Judaism chairman Lucian J Hudson on the topic of Israel.

Lucian wrote to all three major UK political party leaders in September, outlining Liberal Judaism’s support for a two-state solution and the need for the diverse range of views within the Jewish community to be heard.

The Prime Minister wrote back in October expressing his support for this stance, and now the Deputy Prime Minister has followed suit.

Mr Clegg wrote a substantial reply, telling how he shared Lucian’s concerns and outlining the Government’s support for a peace process.

He continued: “I can assure you that the Middle East Peace Process continues to be one of our principal foreign policy priorities.

“Like you, we are firmly committed to a negotiated two-state solution, and we want to see a negotiated agreement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair and agreed solution for refugees.

“We do not underestimate the challenges, but if both parties show bold leadership, it is possible."

Please click here to read Nick Clegg's letter in full.

Liberal leaders enjoy rabbinic retreat

Liberal Judaism’s rabbis have returned from their annual Kallah (retreat), which this year took place at Charney Manor, a Quaker Retreat Centre in Oxfordshire.

kallahThe rabbis grappled with issues around Jewish engagement through text study, dialogue, workshops, walks and sharing of experiences. They also had some fun.

Liberal Judaism outreach director Rabbi Anna Gerrard said:  “After a long day, it was time to let our hair down and spend time bonding with our colleagues. After a wonderful 'Schnitzelborscht' quiz night that included a 'Name that cute little Rabbi' baby picture round, we were happy to crack open our LJY-Netzer shironim (song books) and croon the night away with Rabbis Aaron Goldstein and Rachel Benjamin on their guitars.”

Rabbis Unite in Discussions About Food Poverty

In response to the rise in food poverty and issues surrounding the increased need for - and use of - foodbanks in the UK, Liberal and Reform rabbis wrote a joint letter to the Guardian. In it they expressed the need to think beyond foodbanks as a solution to poverty and hunger.

Their letter is below, or you can click here to read the full article. 

What do we need to do to get the government to listen and attend to the warnings of the archbishop of Canterbury concerning the shameful level of poverty endured by children and their families in the UK (Church v state rift over hunger, 8 December)?

As Jewish religious leaders, we share the archbishop’s concerns. We live in a time of gross injustice in which the rich are getting richer and the poor only becoming poorer. We watch with increasing incredulity phenomena such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, leading to overconsumption and waste, while too many others are forced into diluting milk or missing meals so that their children are able to eat.

We must think critically how changes to the benefits system are impacting on poor families, many of whom are in work yet do not earn enough to sustain themselves and their families. The answer lies not in creating more food banks, for these should never be allowed to become a permanent feature of British life. We must instead change the conditions which make food banks necessary.

Rabbi Alexandra Wright, Rabbi Charley Baginsky Rabbinic Conference, Liberal Judaism, Rabbi Sybil Sheridan Chair of the Assembly of Rabbis, Movement for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Rachel Benjamin, Rabbi Miriam Berger, Rabbi Dr Barbara Borts, Rabbi Douglas Charing, Rabbi Cliff Cohen, Rabbi Howard Cooper, Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith, Rabbi Janet Darley, Rabbi Colin Eimer, Rabbi Helen Freeman, Rabbi Ariel J Friedlander, Rabbi Anna Gerrard, Rabbi Amanda Golby, Student Rabbi Naomi Goldman, Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein, Rabbi Dr Michael Hilton, Rabbi Harry Jacobi, Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi, Rabbi Richard Jacobi, Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, Rabbi Yuval Keren, Rabbi Sandra Kviat, Rabbi Rachel Montagu, Rabbi Lea Mühlstein, Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, Rabbi Dr Judith Rosen-Berry, Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, Rabbi Irit Shillor, Cantor Gershon Silins, Rabbi Michael Standfield, Rabbi Jackie Tabick, Rabbi Pete Tobias, Rabbi Roderick Young, Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, Rabbi Dr Andrea Zanardo, Rabbi Kathleen Middleton, Rabbi Monique Mayer, Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah

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