Yom Sheini, 29 Shevat 5776
Monday, 8 February 2016
News Archive September 2011


Religious groups call for gay marriages in Scotland
BBC News, 28th September 2011

Five religious groups are joining together to call for same-sex marriage to be allowed in Scotland.

The Unitarians, Quakers, Metropolitan Community Church, Pagan Federation and Liberal Judaism are backing members of the Scottish Youth Parliament in their campaign on the issue.

Ministers are currently holding a consultation on same-sex marriages. At the moment gay couples can have a civil ceremony but it cannot take place in religious premises. Civil partnerships can only be registered by civil registrars. Read more


Brichto Israel post launched
The Jewish Chronicle, 27th September 2011

A new fellowship in Israel studies has been set up at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in memory of one of Israel's most passionate supporters, Rabbi Sidney Brichto.

A former executive head of the Liberal movement, Rabbi Brichto, who died in 2009, was a governor of the centre and associated with it since its creation in the early 1970s. Read more


Unitarian church disappointed by 'discriminatory' gay marriage plans
Pink News, 19th September 2011

The chief officer of the British Unitarian Church says he is disappointed by the announcement of a government consultation on gay marriage. Derek McAuley said it would be discriminatory not to allow religious gay marriages and questioned why the process could not begin before Christmas, rather than the scheduled date of March 2012.

The Unitarian Church, along with the Quakers, Liberal and Reform Judaism, has stated its support for same-sex marriage. The churches have asked for the right to hold marriages for gay couples but government ministers say the consultation will only look at civil marriage. Read more


Equallity groups criticise government's same-sex marriage plan
ekklisia.co.uk, 20th September 2011 

Equality campaigners have given a critical response to the latest government announcement on same-sex marriage. They are concerned that ministers have delayed a consultation on the issue and that their plans concern only civil and not religious marriage.

Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone confirmed at the Liberal Democrats' conference that the UK government is committed to legislating for recognition of same-sex marriage in England and Wales by 2015. The Scottish government is already planning to legislate for same-sex marriage in Scotland. Read more


Chairman's Actions: Lucian J Hudson shares the story of his conversion to Judaism
Recently I was interviewed by the South Bucks Jewish Community Newsletter on the reasons why I decided to convert to Judaism. It was suggested that I share this with a wider audience. I hope that after reading it, others will write to me about their own experience or acquaintance of conversion.

I was brought up by Polish parents as a Roman Catholic, and went to a Jesuit school in Paris between the ages of five and nine. That means I am blessed with a Jesuit education, a love of reason and science, yet an appreciation of the limits of human rationality. Ever since I can remember, I have believed in a beneficent God and reality. I don’t hold God responsible if a child trips and cries or if there’s a terrible earthquake. Much as there is suffering and ignorance, and occasional evil, I believe in the triumph of the human spirit, the kindness of strangers and a bright ultimate future for humanity - provided we become custodians, rather than exploiters, of our planet.

After leaving France, as a child, I lived in North London and Jewishness was very much part of my surroundings. My best friends were Jewish, and I loved their intelligence, warmth and resourcefulness. And, as an enthusiastic student, I found that there was a string of Jewish thinkers – Spinoza, Marx, Freud, and Einstein – whose ambivalent relationship with Judaism and the world really interested me. Read More


Dale Farm Eviction: 'Ethnic Cleansing' or just planning permission issues?
The standoff between the bailiffs and the residents of Dale Farm has started with members of the traveller community and activists claiming they will fight the "ethnic cleansing".  So in the wake of David Cameron's speech on the riots with a strong emphasis on morality and days after singer Kelis spoke out about the insidious nature of racism in Britain, is the Dale Farm eviction an illustration of the increasing dislike of cultural differences or simply based on the non-respect of the council's planning permission. Read more


The Liberal Jewish Synagogue Appoints New Rabbi
The LJS, 19th September 2011

The Liberal Jewish Synagogue is delighted to announce the appointment of Rabbi Neil Janes in November.  He will join LJS Senior Rabbi Alexandra Wright who ordained him at Leo Baeck College in 2006.

He has served as congregational rabbi at Finchley Progressive Synagogue for over four years. He then moved to Israel to study for a PhD in Jewish Thought at the University of Haifa which he will continue on his return to the UK. Read more


Overcome the hurdles and enjoy the positives
The new year on campus will bring tough challenges for Jewish students and the organisations which serve them so admirably.

Perhaps the biggest challenge will be working around the NUS's anti-Israel policies, adopted last May. The prospect of British student unions twinning with Hamas-backed institutions in Gaza, or sending students on flotillas, will inevitably increase tension on campus. Read more


Telly star Tamsin Wows Finchley
More than 100 members of Finchley Progressive Synagogue (FPS) packed out the shul hall this weekend, for a special talk from TV star Tamsin Greig.

Tamsin, famous for hit TV comedies Friday Night Dinner and Episodes, delivered the 2011 Rose Segal Memorial Lecture on Sunday September 11. The talk took the form of a conversation with Russ Kane, Capital Radio’s Flying Eye for 20 years and currently a presenter on BBC London Radio. Russ took Tamsin through her various roles on radio, television and the stage, starting with her part as Debbie Aldridge in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers. Read more


'Culturally acceptable racism' at Dale Farm
Jewish activists have urged the community to support Travellers and Gypsies' rights to stay on the controversial Essex site, Dale Farm.

Basildon Council's planned eviction of the Travellers and Gypsies from the site will cost around £18m. Once a scrapyard, the land was bought by the travelling community around 30 years ago, but at least half the site has no planning permission for the building of homes, and 400 people are due to be evicted on September 19. Read more


Eastbourne gets Rabbi
The Jewish Chronicle, 8th September 2011

The Eastbourne Progressive Jewish Congregation (Beit Chaverim) is to be served by a part-time minister - Rabbi Anna Gerrard from the Liberal Judaism head office team.

Rabbi Gerrard will officiate at the erev Shabbat services on the fourth Friday of every month and will also offer pastoral support to congregants. Read more


A Palestinian state will give us peace of mind
Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah, The Jewish Chronicle, 8th September 2011

In recent years it seems that there has been a growing division within the diaspora Jewish community between the supporters of a "secure" Israel, on the one hand, and the promoters of a "just" Israel, on the other. But the landscape of Jewish attitudes has been changing. According to the initial findings from the Israel survey conducted last year by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research, 78 per cent of the 4,000 respondents supported a two-state solution - and 72 per cent described themselves as Zionists. Read more


Standing up for LGBT Human Rights
Liberal Judaism, 7th September 2011

Liberal Judaism played a key role in the UK’s first ever lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Human Rights Summit.

Su Rathgeber Knan, Liberal Judaism’s delegate at the Cardiff event, spoke on a panel discussing same sex marriage, which also included Christian Reverend Sharon Ferguson and well-known equality campaigner Peter Tatchell.

The session featured a legal overview of gay marriage in many countries, including recent developments in the UK, and discussed the aspects of religion that are being used to fight against it. Read more


Dale Farm Travellers get Jewish backing 
The Guardian, 4th September 2011

Members of the Jewish community were due to visit Dale Farm Travellers' camp on Sunday to offer their support to 400 people facing eviction from the green belt site in Essex.

On Friday a UN committee called on the government to suspend the "immature and unwise" eviction, saying it would "disproportionately affect the lives of the Gypsy and Traveller families, particularly women, children and older people".

The camp has also received support from Franciscan monks, who last week blessed the site, as well as Anglican and Catholic bishops.

Rabbi Janet Burden said: "People may not be aware that the Travellers, along with the Gypsies and a limited number of other groups with similar lifestyle patterns, are officially recognised as ethnic minorities, just like our own Jewish community. As such, they deserve protection under European human rights law." Read more


Jews welcome ban on EDL marches
Jewish Chronicle, 1st September 2011

The London Jewish Forum has backed Home Secretary Theresa May's decision to ban a planned march by the English Defence League on Saturday through the East London borough of Tower Hamlets, home to a large Muslim population. On Wednesday she also banned EDL marches in the City of London. Read more


Liberal Rabbi Saves Russian Wedding
Liberal Judaism, 1st September 2011

An English Liberal Jewish Rabbi rushed to the rescue of a Russian couple hoping to marry in France, after their original Orthodox choice refused to conduct the wedding at the last minute. Despite identifying as part of Russia’s Jewish community, it was discovered that the groom was not strictly halachically Jewish just two weeks ago. The Orthodox Rabbi, who was due to carry out the couple’s dream ceremony in St Jean Cap Ferrat on Friday, then pulled out of the wedding – leading them to contact Liberal Judaism’s London head office in a panic.Read more