Yom Shlishi, 24 Tammuz 5774
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Shul partners educating the young generation

February 4 2013
The JC

A joint initiative by the Kingston Orthodox and Liberal synagogues to provide a Holocaust Memorial Day education programme for local students is now attracting over 1,000 participants.

On the launch day of the scheme’s seventh year, French-born survivor Marcel Ladenheim discussed his experiences with year-10 students from Coombe Boys’ School at Kingston Synagogue.

Now Surbiton-based, Mr Ladenheim recalled that much of his childhood had been spent in hiding under the care of two non-Jewish women — his mother was mentally ill.

He also recounted the trauma of leaving France after the war when his aunt took him to Manchester. “The reason I speak to you today is because I’d like to remember the children who were murdered,” he explained. “And for my mother, who never recovered from her experiences, and the two ladies who didn’t have to take in a Jewish boy, but did.”

Sean Dickson, 14, said Mr Ladenheim’s talk had moved him greatly. “From listening to his story, it is quite upsetting to know how many people were actually affected. How many rooms full of people died? It’s hard to imagine.”  Read more

WJR and Tzedek sign up to hunger campaign

January 24 2013
The JC

The Board of Deputies’ decision to tie in with Oxfam’s food project Grow/Tatzmiach was mirrored by another demonstration of Jewish social action this week.

World Jewish Relief, Tzedek and Gefiltefest have signed up to the campaign Enough Food For Everyone IF, a national coalition calling upon David Cameron to use his presidency of the G8 to address the causes of world hunger.

Henry Grunwald, president of World Jewish Relief, said: “We feel that this is something WJR must be involved in. WJR not only looks inwards to the Jewish community but also outwards to the wider community. We can’t close our eyes to that fact that one in eight people go hungry because of a food system that is broken but can be fixed.

“Faith groups have a particular role to play in delivering development in the UK and abroad. This particular campaign has 80 NGOs signed up to it and we have been working closely with Jewish NGOs to make sure that the Jewish community is involved. We believe that Jewish organisations must take part in social action.”

Jude Williams, chief executive of Tzedek, added: “We believe there is a Jewish obligation to get involved in this. As Jews we need to be involved in the Jewish community and support Israel, but there is also another level where we need to be involved in world issues, in the issues of extreme poverty. This international problem does require a national response, the British people are saying to David Cameron we want this, so make it happen. That is why, for us, this campaign is a great moment.”

The Jewish Social Action Forum (JSAF), the umbrella group for the United Synagogue, the Reform Movement, Liberal Judaism, Masorti Judaism, Rene Cassin, Jewish Council for Social Equality, GIFT, Mitzvah Day, Jewish Volunteering Network, the Union of Jewish Students and JW3, has also signed up to the campaign.  Read more

Shabbaton to be held in town in March

4 February 2013
Eastbourne Herald

A day of Jewish learning, services and workshops is due to take place in Eastbourne at the beginning of March.

The Liberal Judaism’s Regional Shabbaton will take place at the Kings Centre in Edison Road on March 2.

 Eastbourne Progressive Jewish Congregation is delighted the even will be held in the town this year and members are hoping as many Jews as possible will attend.

Justin Etkin, one of the members of the Eastbourne group, said, “We were delighted when Liberal Judaism chose us to host this year’s Regional Shabbaton, here in our Seaside town of Eastbourne rather then one of the major cities.”

Tickets cost £20 for adults and £10 for children.

Tickets must be bought before February 17 by calling Alex Wakely on 02075801663 or emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Gay marriage: MPs set to vote on proposals for the first tim

24 January 2013

MPs are set to get their first chance to vote on plans to allow same-sex marriages in England and Wales.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will be debated in Parliament on Tuesday 5 February, the leader of the Commons Andrew Lansley has announced.

The bill will allow same-sex marriage and let religious organisations which want to, to offer them, the culture department says.

The plans have divided the Conservative Party - its MPs will get a free vote.

Labour and the Lib Dems back the proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, but Labour said the exemption for the established Church was "disappointing".

The Church of England and Roman Catholics, among other denominations, have voiced opposition to the plans and are expected to oppose the bill, even with its caveats.

But some religious groups, including Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Judaism, are in favour.  Read more

As a Rabbi, I’m praying for common sense over the same-sex marriage bill debate

25 January 2013

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, the co-chair of the Rabbinic Conference of Liberal Judaism says that he looks forward to being able to marry couples whether they are same-sex or opposite sex. He urges for common sense in the passing of the Marriage (Same-sex couples) Bill.

This past year, I have officiated at around a dozen weddings. Some were a chuppah – the wedding canopy under which two Jews are married. Under English Law, my Synagogue is registered to perform the Jewish, religious wedding and the Civil wedding as one. I have also performed a number of mixed faith blessings where I and my Synagogue are not permitted under English Law to act as the Civil Registrar. In these cases, the couple must be married in a Civil Ceremony by a local Registrar before I will ask God to bless their marriage.  Read more 

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