11 January 2019
Rabbi David Hulbert, one of Liberal Judaism’s longest serving congregational rabbis, is spending his well-earned sabbatical from the pulpit by… returning to the pulpit.
David is currently taking a sabbatical from East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue (ELELS). He has served the community and its forerunner Bet Tikvah – which merged with Woodford Liberal Synagogue to form ELELS – since his ordination in 1989.
But rather than relaxing during his break, David is visiting and supporting smaller Progressive communities around the UK. The idea was conceived by Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, and chair Simon Benscher.
David led services in Peterborough in December and Bedford last Shabbat (pictured). His next stops are:
Saturday January 19 (Tu Bishvat) – Suffolk Liberal Jewish Community
Saturday February 2 – Lincolnshire Jewish Community
Saturday February 16 – Herefordshire Jewish Community
Saturday May 4 – Cambridge Reform Jewish Community
Saturday May 11 – Tikvah Chadasha (Brentwood)
If you’d like to attend a service, please click here to find out contact details for the community so that you can let them know in advance.
David said: “One of the frustrations of being the rabbi of a very active synagogue for almost 30 years is that one rarely gets the opportunity of visiting other communities.
“So I was delighted when Rabbi Danny Rich and Simon Benscher suggested that during my sabbatical, I should spare the time from horse riding, ice-skating and playing chamber music to visit smaller Liberal communities scattered across East Anglia.
“So far, there are seven communities on my schedule – and yes, I know that some aren’t exactly East Anglia and Cambridge is Reform.
“I very much enjoyed my visits to Peterborough and Bedford. These two communities gave me the warmest of welcomes and the services were really pleasant, with plenty of music and kavanah (intention).
“I do admire the dedication of small groups of volunteers who work so hard to maintain their regular services, even if they don’t take place every Shabbat, without rabbis, paid administrators or their own premises.
“Claude Montefiore, one of Liberal Judaism’s founders, acutely observed (p. 255 of our siddur) that in the long sweep of Jewish history, it wasn’t the great rabbis or philosophers who kept the show on the road, but ‘the many little and obscure Jewish communities, who did the most to keep alive the flame of the purest Monotheism and the supremacy and divineness of the Moral Law’.”
Hilary Fox of Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue added: “It was fantastic having Rabbi David Hulbert, and his wife Fiona, at our Shabbat morning service. We all very much enjoyed his sermon and discussion afterwards.”
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