Yom Shlishi, 6 Tishri 5775
Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Rabbi Danny Rich: Syrian Refugees Must Be Allowed into the UK

January 22nd 2014

Last Thursday, Liberal Judaism’s Chief Executive, Rabbi Danny Rich was part of a delegation of rabbis who delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street, calling on the government to allow Syrian refugees into the UK. The petition was organised by the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE).

The other rabbis were Rabbi Sybil Sheridan (Wimbledon synagogue), Rabbi Lee Sunderland (Romford synagogue) and Rabbi Jeremy Gordon (New London synagogue). The delegation included JCORE’s founder, Edie Friedman.

Rabbi Danny Rich said: “The Syrian situation is a tragedy for more than just Syria. There are men, women and children who are surviving in appalling conditions and any civilised nation should seek to assist. For Jews, Jewish teaching demands that we find ways of alleviating the suffering and in the name of our faith we call on the British government to allow Syrian refugees into the UK.”

To read the letter, and to find out more, visit: http://www.jcore.org.uk/apps/blog/allow-syrian-refugees-into-the-uk.

Fancy a latte? Go to Northwood and Pinner Liberal shul

The JC
January 13th 2014

Come the spring, members of Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue will be able to enjoy a cappuccino and latte within its walls.

Building has begun on a multi-purpose room whose primary use, explained Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, “will be a café open to members and their friends”.

It would be a place for senior citizens to socialise and where “they can have good-quality coffee, as people now demand.

“We are right next to the Metropolitan Line and we have kids in several schools up the line. So it will also be a space for teenagers to come after school and an opportunity for rabbis to provide programming for them.”
The café is further aimed at parents of pupils at the cheder — which runs on a Saturday morning, as in a number of other Liberal congregations.  Read more

Open UK’s doors to Syrians, say rabbis

The JC
9th January 2014

Rabbis from across the community are backing a Jewish group’s campaign to bring Syrian refugees to the UK.

Seven leading Charedi, United Synagogue and Reform ministers are among the 161 signatories to a Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCore) petition which calls on Prime Minister David Cameron to open Britain’s doors to Syrians affected by the civil war in their country.

This week, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told MPs that “around 1,500” Syrians have settled in the UK.

But JCore founder Edie Friedman, said Mr Clegg had “side-stepped the issue” by counting people who had already applied for asylum. She said the government needed to implement a proper refugee resettlement programme alongside other European countries.

Masorti rabbi Jeremy Gordon, Liberal rabbi Danny Rich, Rabbi Sybil Sheridan of the Reform movement, and US rabbi Lee Sunderland will be among those delivering the petition to Downing Street. Read more

Doctors feted in New Year’s Honour list

The JC
9th January 2014

A refugee from the Nazis, two specialists in women’s health and senior figure in the City of London have all been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

Dr Anna-Maria Rollin, a member of Kingston Liberal Synagogue, received an MBE for services to anaesthesia.

Dr Rollin, 67, a consultant anaesthetist at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “An enormous amount of the credit for this goes to my department at the hospital, and to my family, who have had to put up with a lot of delayed meals over the years.”  Read more

To tree or not to tree? That is the question

December 19th 2013
The JC

Celebrate, volunteer or avoid like the plague? Just what do Jews do over the Christmas holiday period?

Doing anything special on December 25? Christmas is a polarising time for UK Jews. Some enter enthusiastically into a secular celebration, sitting down with family and friends to a (kosher) turkey dinner, handing out presents and pulling crackers. Others get into the spirit of the season of goodwill by volunteering at a variety of charities. But, for many, it is a time to avoid — as much for the rampant commercialism as the religious connotations.

Among those who will be volunteering is Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich, who is maintaining his own Christmas tradition by chauffering the Kingston Mayor — this year Penny Shelton. “I’ve been driving the Mayor on Christmas Day for the past 15 years,” he explains. “It began when I was speaking to the Mayor’s driver, who told me that he couldn’t celebrate Christmas at home because he had to work. So I said I’d do it for him and have been doing it ever since.

“Every year, we visit a centre that gives lunch to the elderly. We sometimes go to the local radio station. This year, we’ll also be visiting the emergency services. It is what I’ve practised all my life. When I was a child, all my aunts got involved, doing whatever they could to make others’ lives easier.”

Born on December 25 — and with a mother named Mary — Kingston Liberal minister Rabbi Charley Baginsky can appreciate better than most the issues Jews face over Christmas, particularly in the smaller communities.

“In our shul in Surrey, most of our congregants’ children are the only Jewish kids in school. How do we deal with the reality that Christmas will permeate their lives? It’s a battle for people.

“How do you explain to your children that they are not going to get presents, or they can’t put lights up? We try as a synagogue to help parents articulate [their concerns] within the schools and remind them that not every child will be decorating their house or waiting for Father Christmas. It’s important that their child feels a part of his or her community, but also acknowledges that there is a difference.”  Read more

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