Lily’s Legacy: Read Fran’s story and then give us yours

9 May 2019 – 4 Iyyar 5779
Francesca Kurlansky

9 May 2019

With support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, our latest project Lily’s Legacy: The Radical History and Heritage of Liberal Judaism in Britain will research, document, map and showcase more than 115 years of history.

What makes this project so special is that it will focus on the REAL people that have made Liberal Judaism what it is – from those involved in setting up communities many decades ago to those who have only recently found a home for their Jewish story within Liberal Judaism.

One of the first people to tell their story to Lily’s Legacy is Francesca Kurlansky, currently Liberal Judaism’s Progressive Jewish Students fieldworker. Fran is from a patrilineal background (meaning her father is Jewish) but really only found her Jewish home after encountering Liberal Judaism’s youth movement LJY-Netzer as a teenager.

Fran told Lily’s Legacy: “When I was 14, I was asked by a friend to join LJY’s summer camp. It was the most amazing experience. I really connected with the rituals and prayers and everyone there. I had never read Hebrew before; I was taking in all these new things.

“Soon I started teaching at South London Liberal Synagogue (SLLS) and went on the Shnat Netzer gap year programme in Israel, which was the most pivotal point for me. I felt so happy to be in a Jewish space with other Progressive Jewish people.

“My passion for this just grew and grew and I wanted to keep adding to my bag of Jewishness. In June, I become a movement worker for LJY-Netzer and in the future I would love to become a rabbi.

“The fact that Liberal Judaism is at the forefront of change is something I find so inspiring and has given me so much. Yet, I know I still have a massive journey to go on.”

Can you now help Lily’s Legacy by sharing your story?

We are keen to capture Liberal Jewish voices from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. This will include people who have met one of our founders or pioneers or escaped/experienced the Holocaust, either recounting their own experience or that of a family member.

While seeking to record the past, we are equally mindful of ‘history in progress’. Lily’s Legacy would therefore also love to hear other diverse stories from, for example, youth movement members, ‘Jews by choice’, patrilineal Jews, mixed faith families and LGBTQI+ people.

All these stories and materials will form a permanent record at the London Metropolitan Archives and other national heritage institutes, thus creating a lasting legacy for present and future generations.

Please email project manager Shaan Knan on if you can help.


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