Celebrating 70 years of Liberal Judaism in Ireland

11 May 2016
Dublin Jewish Progressive Congregation (DJPC) celebrated its 70th anniversary with a sold-out gala dinner and jam-packed weekend of services and events, attended by VIPS representing all of Ireland’s faiths.
Dignitaries included Most Rev Dr Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland (Roman Catholic), and Most Rev Dr Michael Jackson, the Archbishop of Dublin (Church of Ireland) – as well as leaders of the Romanian Orthodox, Unitarian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Bahá’í communities.
Liberal Judaism was represented by its president, senior rabbi and chair, with Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein, Rabbi Danny Rich and Simon Benscher all playing roles throughout the weekend – along with Rabbis Dr Charles Middleburgh and Alan Mann.
Guests – including the British, Israeli and Austrian ambassadors to Ireland, as well as members of the Dublin City Interfaith Forum – attended a Friday night service, which saw Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh inducted as DJPC’s rabbi emeritus and a Yom Ha’Shaoah commemoration.
DJPC president Dr Helen Marks told a packed sanctuary: “As we pause to remember the Holocaust, we are blessed to be surrounded by members of the diplomatic community, interfaith groups and representatives of around 10 different faiths.
“Hopefully by meeting and praying together we create the type of dialogue and understanding that is essential in creating the future we all want for ourselves and our children.”
A Shabbat morning service and evening gala dinner followed on Saturday, with Sunday bringing ‘Tots on the Bimah’ and tree planting events. The community’s youth planted apple trees in the garden of the synagogue for Rabbis Dr Charles Middleburgh and Dr Andrew Goldstein, in honour of everything they have done to build and sustain DJPC.
As well as celebrating 70 years of a thriving congregation, the weekend also gave members a chance to reflect on how they can help others in the local Dublin community.
Welcoming guests to the gala dinner, Helen said: “As we enjoy this meal, we should keep in mind those for whom a warm meal and a safe place to sleep is a luxury or even a dream. That is not only in Europe, the Middle East and other far away places but right here, outside this hotel on the streets of Dublin. Our work with Inner City Helping Homeless as part of Mitzvah Day 365 has brought this sharply into focus.
“We are blessed to be part of a community such as DJPC and to have this opportunity to celebrate what that means together.”
The DJPC Anniversary Choir under the community’s new logo, designed to celebrate 70 years
Click here to read Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh’s sermon  

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