Lucian J Hudson
It is an honour and a joy to be representing Liberal Judaism at the 36th World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) Biennial Conference, which is being held in Jerusalem from April 29 to May 5. Our movement will have a large presence at the event, where I will be joined by Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich, co-chair of Rabbinic Conference Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, Rabbis Harry and Richard Jacobi, Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, Rabbi Andrew and Sharon Goldstein and LJY-Netzer’s Robin Cooke.
Jerusalem is the home of the WUPJ, the international organisation serving 1,200 congregations with 1.8 million members. We can expect representatives from most of the WUPJ’s 45 member countries, all coming together to celebrate and to learn. Delegates will take part in workshops, discussions, site visits and an exchange of ideas. There will also be an opportunity to celebrate our achievements, forge closer links and shape our future. The main idea is that we connect and reconnect – hence the event’s title, Connections 2013.
This year’s theme is ‘Being the Difference’. Not just making a difference but, with a distinct echo of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘being’ the difference we seek. Any effective change has to come from within, so that we can influence with integrity and impact. The conference aims to draw out the importance of being Progressive Jews with a commitment to repairing this broken world, Tikkun Olam, through our concerted and collaborative actions. I will be chairing the text study session on the very topic of Tikkun Olam, which I hope will prove one of the highlights of the week.
The number 36 has significance in Jewish mystical folklore, as it is said that at any one time, 36 righteous people save the world from itself. I have more modest ambitions for this conference, but would not underestimate how far reaching a successful event can be when participants put their minds to it.
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