Yom Rishon, 18 Tammuz 5775
Tzom Tammuz Sunday, 5 July 2015

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A pledge to help refugees

Liberal Judaism Chief Executive Rabbi Danny Rich joined other community leaders at the Citizens UK Civil Society Summit to announce a Sanctuary Manifesto.

dannycitizensrefugeesSpeaking at the event, Danny pledged to support a call for the resettlement of more refugees, particularly from Syria, in solidarity with Nebal Istanbouly, a refugee from Syria who also spoke at the summit.

Danny was joined at the lectern by Canon Steven Saxby and Sahar al-Faifi, from the Muslim Council of Wales. Sam Gyimah, MP for East Surrey and Children's Minister, also addressed the Summit.

Danny said: "Nebal, we will stand with you. We in the Jewish community know the perils and indifference that people face in trying to find sanctuary.

"What will we do? We will act to help more Syrian refugees who cannot return home to be resettled in the UK. And we will also pledge to support them when they get here.

"We need to approach local councils up and down the country and ask them to pledge to accommodate 750 additional refugee families. Jews will be using the festival of Succot in October - when we build temporary shelters - as a hook for this campaign.  Perhaps Muslims could focus their efforts during Eid al Adha, and Christians at Christmas.

"Alone we are weak, but Christians, Muslims, Jews and people of no faith standing together would be unstoppable."

Statement from Jewish community leaders on the situation in Israel and Gaza

We the undersigned representatives of different denominations within the British Jewish community make the following statement on the current situation in Israel and Gaza:

"In these painful times we regret the loss of all innocent life. Our thoughts are with all those who grieve and we fervently pray that we soon see a just and lasting peace for all in the region."

Rabbi Danny Rich
(Chief Executive, Liberal Judaism)

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg
(Senior Rabbi, Masorti Judaism)

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner
(Senior Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism)

Lucian Hudson
(Chair, Liberal Judaism)

Clive Sheldon QC, Nick Gendler
(Co-Chairs, Masorti Judaism)

Robert Weiner
(Chair, Movement for Reform Judaism)

David Dangoor
(Chair, Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation)

Day of Celebration 2015 date announced

Liberal Judaism’s Day of Celebration 2015 will be held on Sunday June 7 in London.

In the years when Liberal Judaism does not hold a Biennial Conference, we use the opportunity to come together to celebrate the best of our movement and its communities in a day-long showcase.

As the Day of Celebration 2013 was held in Birmingham, the 2015 event will be hosted by one of Liberal Judaism’s London communities. The venue will be announced shortly.

Rabbi Charley Baginsky, chair of the organising committee, said: “We’re really excited to begin planning this event, inspired and charged by the energy of the Biennial just gone.

“We are looking to create a day that will continue to celebrate the achievements and future development of Liberal Judaism. So please put Sunday June 7, 2015, in your diaries!”

Further details on the Day of Celebration will appear in the next edition of lj today.

Rabbi Janet leads Living Wage protest

living_wage_whitehallOn Monday July 21 at 8am, cleaners of government departments (supported by Citizens UK) joined Rabbi Janet Darley and more than 100 supporters to protest along Whitehall and launch the Living Wage League Table. 

 The focus of the protest was those Government departments and associated Ministers paying poverty wages and languishing at the bottom of the Whitehall Living Wage League Table.

South London Liberal Synagogue’s Rabbi Janet Darley, a team from Liberal Judaism and the government cleaners ‘cleaned up’ outside the worst offending departments armed with mops, brooms and dusters. Rabbi Janet, Father Simon Cuff and Mohammed, a cleaner at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, then delivered a letter and wooden spoon to DEFRA, the department at the bottom of the league table.

A winners cup was awarded to Ed Davey MP at the Department for Energy & Climate Change, for being the latest department to commit to becoming a Living Wage employer.

The Whitehall Living Wage League Table, launched by Citizens UK, reveals the hourly rates that cleaners are currently paid in each Government department, as well as announcing which ministers have already met with this crucial target of becoming Living Wage employers.

While some departments now pay the London Living Wage of £8.80 per hour, others are far behind on the minimum wage of £6.31.

Rabbi Janet said: “They told me it was difficult because cleaners are outsourced. I responded that with Lambeth Citizens, South London Liberal Synagogue has made sure that Lambeth Council's outsourced cleaners are paid a Living Wage.

“This is a Jewish value - a full day's work deserves a fair day's pay. That is why Liberal Judaism have committed to the Living Wage, the first of all synagogal movements to do so".

Mohammed, who earns £6.31 per hour, added: “I’ve been working in Whitehall for 13 years. I work from 7.30am to 8.30pm and I’m a father to three young children so I have to pay childcare costs.

“Every year the cost of food, council tax, utility bills and a bus pass goes up, but my pay hardly changes. I currently receive £6.31 per hour, which is not enough. There is nothing left at the end of the month. There’s no time to cook when I get home, my whole life is work.”

For more information, visit http://www.livingwage.org.uk/

Why I fasted for peace in the Middle East

By Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi
The Guardian, 16th July 2014

Like many people – Jews and non-Jews alike – I have been watching the events in Israel and Gaza unfold with horror. I am shocked at the deaths of so many Palestinians. At the same time, I feel for Israelis who are living in fear, with continual shelling. How can one respond in the face of all the complexities?

So when I received an email from Yachad, a British Jewish organisation that campaigns for peace through a two-state solution, about a worldwide fast to mourn the loss of life and express our hope for peace, it felt like the right thing to do. I had already been contemplating fasting. Along with other faith leaders, I was invited last night to an Iftar, the breaking of the day’s Ramadan fast, at Birmingham Central Mosque. It would have felt wrong to be breaking a fast without fasting.

At the same time, it is the Jewish Fast of Tammuz, the beginning of a three-week period of mourning for the siege of Jerusalem in the year 70. As a Progressive Jew I do not normally keep the fast, but yesterday there was ample cause for mourning: the loss of life, the suffering and the seemingly intractable conflict in Israel and Palestine. In joining a fast with the message of “Hungry for Peace” with hundreds of Jews and Muslims in this country, and across the world, we hope we sent the message that we yearn for peace and we mourn the loss of the life of every human being – Jew or Muslim, Israeli or Palestinian.  Read more


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