Yom Shabbat, 25 Elul 5774
Saturday, 20 September 2014
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Search for first same sex Jewish marriage couple begins

10th December 2013

Liberal Judaism has started its search for the first ever same sex couple to marry under a chuppah. The search comes hot on the heels of the Government's announcement this afternoon that marriage will be equal in England and Wales from 29th March 2014.

If you're in a loving and committed same sex Jewish couple and would like to tie the knot under our chuppah, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We are proud to have been part of this historic fight for justice right from the start, working closely with Unitarians and Quakers in Britain, and later, with the Movement for Reform Judaism.

Until March 2014, marriage will continue to be segregated in England and Wales, with our rabbis banned from solemnising loving same sex Jewish marriages and couples forced to hold two separate ceremonies - one legal and one religious.

For more information on our stance on equality, please click here.

 
LJ Officer Gillian Merron Addresses Chanukah in the Square

Liberal Judaism's Officer, former Government minister, and Lincolnshire Jewish Community member, Gillian Merron, joined Boris Johnson and Orthodox Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis in addressing over 5,000 people at Chanukah in the Square in London on Thursday 28th November.

Gillian gave voice to the Jewish community's pride in being part of the "rich tapestry of life in London and across the UK." You can hear the rest of her speech, as well as watch highlights from Chanukah in the Square, below.

This year's Chanukah in the Square, which takes place in Trafalgar Square, featured Europe's largest ever menorah, and was organised by the Jewish Leadership Council, the London Jewish Forum and Chabad-Lubavitch UK, and supported by the Mayor of London. For more photos and information about Chanukah in the Square, visit the Jewish News website.

Reflecting on the event, Gillian said: "It was a true honour, and a pleasure, to be such a part of such a wonderful occasion to light the fabulous menorah in Trafalgar Square. My late parents could never have dreamt that it would be possible for their daughter to speak up for the Jewish community as a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council, alongside  the Mayor of London and the Orthodox Chief Rabbi. I know that it has become possible, because of the 'home' and support that Liberal Judaism and my Lincoln community give to me."

Gillian was speaking as Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), of which Liberal Judaism is a constituent member. Our chairman, Lucian J. Hudson, serves on the JLC Council of Membership.

 
Liberal Judaism: the First Synagogal Movement to Become Living Wage Accredited

4th December 2013

Liberal Judaism has become the first synagogal movement in the UK to receive official accreditation as a Living Wage employer. This means that everyone employed by the central movement is paid at least a Living Wage.

The Living Wage Foundation, which administers the accreditation, recognises that the UK's minimum wage is not enough to live on, and sets a new standard wage which must be paid in order for a worker to support themselves and their family. In the UK the hourly Living Wage is set as £7.65; in London it is £8.80. This is in comparison with the current UK minimum wage of £6.61, which makes no allowance for geographical variations in the cost of living.

Liberal Judaism is now encouraging all of its constituent communities to achieve accreditation in their own right; many of them are already very advanced in this process. The movement's accreditation comes as part of its collaboration with Citizens UK.

Commenting on the accreditation, the chair of Liberal Judaism's Rabbinic Conference, Rabbi Charley Baginsky, said: "Liberal Judaism has always seen itself as inheriting the work of the Prophets and social action is therefore at the heart of this. However, like the Prophets we are very clear that we have to play an active role in transforming vision into reality; ideology is meaningless without its accompanying action. Ensuring that we are a Living Wage employer is just one step in a long journey towards helping to build a better world for all its inhabitants."

Find out more about the Living Wage by clicking here.

 
Chanukkah Sameach!

A Talmudic midrash tells of Adam’s horror when the world’s first winter began to draw in. Having never experienced the changing of the seasons, he thought the darkness would last forever, saying, “Woe is me, perhaps because I have sinned, the world around me is being darkened and returning to its state of chaos and confusion; this then is the kind of death to which I have been sentenced from Heaven!” He therefore embarked on an eight day fast. But as he observed the winter solstice and noted the days getting increasingly longer, he said, “This is the world’s course”, and he set forth to keep an eight days’ festivity. That festivity, according to the midrash, was Hanukkah. Yet every year when winter arrives, and the days get darker, it can still come as a shock, even though we know in our hearts that spring will return. Hanukkah reminds us that even in darkness there is light. But the question remains – is the memory of spring enough to keep us warm while winter reigns?

 
Rabbi Danny Rich in Haaretz on RE in Schools

26th November 2013

Liberal Judaism’s chief executive, Rabbi Danny Rich, has written an incisive opinion piece for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, in which he advocates for more rigorous religious education in schools, arguing that community cohesion depends on it.

The full article is behind the paywall but you can read it via a Twitter link by following @LiberalJudaism. Subscribers can click here

 
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