Yom Chamishi, 29 Tishri 5775
Thursday, 23 October 2014

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If you don't, who will?

As we move towards Shabbat Shekalim, when we read the portion from Shemot about how the community needs to contribute towards the upkeep of the Mishkan, it is time to think about how we maintain the vibrancy of our own community. This year, Liberal Judaism is supporting Jewish Legacy, a cross communal initiative made up of 46 of the leading Jewish charities, which has been set up to help make members of the Jewish community aware that leaving a gift in their Will is vitally important. Leaving a legacy is a powerful way to make sure that our community is still going strong for future generations.

You can contribute towards the future health of Liberal Judaism, or indeed any other charity, by making or amending your will with the aid of a solicitor.  To find out more about Jewish Legacy, please visit: http://www.jewishlegacy.org.uk/

Why we are signing on the Green Line

19th January 2014

Liberal Judaism, and its youth movement, LJY-Netzer, are proud to be supporting the Sign on the Green Line campaign, which has  been set up by 16 young people from across the community.

The campaign asks organisations and individuals in the Jewish community to commit to only using maps of Israel which show the 1949 armistice lines, also known as the Green Line, or the 1967 borders. We do this because we are committed to a just peace for both peoples, and a two state solution.

LJY-Netzer movement worker, Graham Carpenter, says: “At LJY-Netzer we recently voted our  theme of the year for 2014 to be ‘Ani V’atah Neshaneh Et Ha’olam’ – ‘You and I shall change the world’. This enables us to engage with big political issues facing us as British, Liberal Zionist, Liberal Jews, and focus on our ability to enact social change. That is why we joined the Sign on the Green Line campaign, and pledged to only use maps of Israel with the correct state lines, as getting everyone to work from the same map then enables us to further the conversation on our future vision for Israel.”

To learn more about Sign on the Green Line campaign, please visit http://signonthegreenline.org/

Trove of Jewish LGBT history goes on display in U.K.

February 12th 2014

On a sodden evening last week, veteran gay activist Peter Tatchell stepped up to a podium at the London School of Economics and described how in the 1980s he battled to allow pink-triangle memorial wreaths to be laid at the Cenotaph war memorial in London’s Whitehall.

Campaigning alongside him was a lesbian who had escaped Nazi rule, coming to England in the Kindertransport, he said. Her parents perished and her uncle, who was gay as well as Jewish, was rounded up early on and died in Sachenhausen concentration camp.

“The Jewish and LGBT communities have many shared experiences. Different but shared,” Tatchell noted. “And of course in Jewish LGBT people, the two experiences are combined. The legacy – the history of struggle against persecution and injustice – is one that both our communities have endured, and still endure.”

He was speaking at the launch of Rainbow Jews, the United Kingdom’s first archive of Jewish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and despite torrential rainstorms and a Tube strike, the auditorium was packed to capacity. Read more

Communal leaders join Israel's global debate on diaspora

The JC
February 14th 2014

Israel must be more open, must value voices of dissent and promote minority rights, according to Liberal Jews in Britain.

They also argued that diaspora communities should provide greater financial investments in Israel’s non-Jewish communities.

The comments from the Liberal Judaism movement were made in response to an Israeli government consultation on the country’s relationship with the diaspora.

The consultation is aimed at providing recommendations to Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

She is overseeing the Knesset’s work to define more clearly the country’s Jewish and democratic credentials.

Mrs Livni has asked global Jewry to discuss four key points, relating to Israel’s core Jewish values, its democratic values, whether the country can ever prioritise one over the other, and whether there should be an “explicit expression of the special relationship” between Israel and the diaspora.

She is considering introducing legislation relating to Israel’s joint Jewish-democratic character. The Jewish People Policy Institute — an independent think-tank which tackles issues of key concern to global Jewry — is co-ordinating the global response.

In what it called an “uncompromising” statement, Liberal Judaism said Israel must “promote equality, act morally and ethically and commit to social action. Read more. 

Britain's 'Rainbow Jews' Look to Past and Future

Jewish Daily Forward Blog
February 12th 2014

“I see a lot of young Jewish gay people today who are very confident about being out. I see them on Old Compton Street wearing their Star of David like it was just a piece of jewelry. They think it’s fun,” Russell Vandyk says. “But they have to be aware that things weren’t always so easy. The danger is that people get too relaxed and comfortable. Actually, it’s a serious matter and one needs to be on guard, because at any time the wheel could turn.”

Vandyk, who was immersed in the struggles of the 1970s and ‘80s and was a key part of London’s Jewish Gay Group, is one of several individuals who recorded their stories for “Rainbow Jews.” This oral history project, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, seeks to capture and preserve the testimonies of LGBT British Jews, encompassing the range of experience from the 1950s until the present.

The persons interviewed for the project include Lionel Blue, the first British rabbi to declare his homosexuality publicly, Abi Jay, the only known Jewish intersex person in the U.K., and Sheila Shulman and Elli Tikvah Sarah, the first openly lesbian rabbinical students. “We were putting together what it meant for us to a lesbian, to be a Jew,” Tikvah Sarah says. “We could see strong similarities because in both cases [we had] minority marginal identities.” Read more. 

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