‘Fundamentalism is bad for British Jewry. We need to be more inclusive’ – says Liberal Judaism Senior Rabbi

5 July 2017 – 11 Tammuz 5777

5 July 2017

Responding to the JPR’s Report ‘Synagogue Membership in the UK in 2016’ Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism Danny Rich has said:

“Liberal Judaism’s membership remains broadly stable, although there is no room for complacency.

“The massive growth in the strictly Orthodox sector – at the expense of mainstream Orthodoxy – has the potential to transform the nature of Judaism in this country, from outward looking and inclusive to introverted and isolated. That would be bad for British Jewry and bad for Britain.

“It is clear from these figures that mainstream Jewry – and mainstream Orthodoxy in particular – has failed to respond to this threat by offering an attractive alternative to the false certainties of fundamentalism.

“I believe we need to be more open, more inclusive and more flexible.

“For our movement this means following through on Liberal Judaism’s continuing investment in new communities, going where the Jews are, not expecting them to come to us or to our buildings. You can see in this research the beginnings of this strategy with new Liberal communities in places such as Durham, Lancashire and York established since the last survey.”

Rabbi Rich added:
“Increasingly, those who drift away from Judaism mostly live outside the Jewish bubbles of North London and South Herts. They have mixed faith families and mixed faith heritage.

“I don’t ignore status, but I do believe this research shows Liberal Judaism is right to adopt an approach to inclusion that is about saying ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’. We need to welcome into our communities the non-Jewish partners of those who have felt alienated by Orthodoxy and all those whose Judaism is in the purity of their actions rather than their blood.”

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