Progressive rabbis write to Prime Minister over Brexit

2 April 2017 – 6 Nisan 5777

2 April 2017

More than 50 Liberal and Reform Judaism rabbis have written to Prime Minister Theresa May asking her to always put human beings first in the conversations she will be having over Brexit.

The Progressive rabbis – who represent more than a third of British Jews – urged the Prime Minister and her European partners to recognise that the decisions they make will impact millions of lives. They also reaffirmed their own commitment to Britain and contribution to its life.

The letter reads:

Dear Prime Minister,

We are all rabbis serving Jewish communities around the United Kingdom. Most of us were born and educated in this country, and some of us came here as a matter of choice. We represent a large group of Jewish communities made up of Jews coming from various backgrounds, various countries of origin.

In that respect, we do represent both the diversity within British society and within the European society. As rabbis, we are loyal to the United Kingdom, its institutions, its values, and our congregants share the same British values as we all do.

Some of us are citizens from another European country. We came here to study at the Leo Baeck College in Finchley, an institution that trains rabbis and Jewish educators for this country and beyond. We have decided to stay in the United Kingdom for various reasons, and we are all happy with this choice. We love Britain, its culture, its language, its history, and its people, and we gladly contribute to its life.

As you have triggered Article 50, which begins the process of exiting the European Union, we wanted to remind you and your government not to forget in the years ahead that you and your European partners will make decisions that will impact millions of people: EU citizens living in the United Kingdom, and UK citizens living in the EU. They all made amazing contributions to their host countries, and added to their grandeur.

“Above all, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). According to the Jewish tradition, a leader serves the needs of their followers by enhancing their capacity and empowering them.

“One who is appointed over a community becomes the servant of this community” (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Horayot 10a). We respectfully request that you bear in mind the human dimension of the current situation, and that you put human beings first in the conversation ahead.

Signed by Rabbis Aaron Goldstein, Adam Frankenberg, Alexandra Wright, Amanda Golby, Andrea Zanardo, Barbara Borts, Benji Stanley, Charles Middleburgh, Charles Wallach, Charley Baginsky, Colin Eimer, Daniel Smith, Daniela Thau, Debbie Young-Somers
Deborah Kahn-Harris, Elli Tikvah Sarah, Esther Hugenholtz, Fabian Sborovsky, Harry Jacobi, Helen Freeman, Howard Cooper, Irit Shillor, Jackie Tabick, Janet Darley, Jeffrey Newman, Jonathan Magonet, Judith Levitt, Kate Briggs, Kathleen Middleton, Larry Becker, Larry Tabick, Lea Muehlstein, Margaret Jacobi, Maurice Michaels, Michael Hilton, Miriam Berger, Monique Mayer, Rachel Benjamin, Rebecca Birk, René Pfertzel, Reuven Silverman, Richard Jacobi, Roderick Young, Steven Katz, Sylvia Rothschild, Tanya Sakhnovich, Tony Bayfield, Warren Elf and Cantors Gershon Sillins and Zoë Jacobs

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