Rabbi Danny Rich stepping down as head of Liberal Judaism

23 January 2020

Rabbi Danny Rich is stepping down as the senior rabbi and chief executive of Liberal Judaism after 15 hugely successful years in the role.

Danny announced his decision to Liberal Judaism’s Council on Tuesday night. He will leave his post at the end of March.

Danny’s tenure and achievements will be celebrated at Liberal Judaism’s flagship event of 2020, the Biennial Weekend, which takes place on 22-24 May. His numerous successes over the last 15 years have included:

  • The major development or opening of new Liberal communities in York, Manchester, Wessex, Stevenage, Gloucestershire, Brentwood, Suffolk, Crouch End, Lancashire & Cumbria, Manchester, Edinburgh and Copenhagen – in many of those areas bringing Judaism to places others had not been able to reach.
  • Being at the forefront of the successful campaign to ensure equal marriage in the UK – working with the Quakers and Unitarians to show religious support from same sex couples seeking to marry and presenting evidence to Parliament to support the case.
  • Being a spokesperson on rights for refugees and a key figure in the ongoing battle to ensure that unaccompanied child refugees from Syria can come to the UK and receive a warm welcome on arrival.
  • Increasing support to Jewish students, including the appointment of the first Progressive Student Chaplain on campus.
  • Fighting for the recognition of all Jews in the wider Jewish community and schooling system, including those of patrilineal descent.
  • Re-invigorating Liberal Judaism with social justice messages and campaigns.
  • Ensuring Liberal Judaism was the first synagogal movement to go ‘Living Wage’.
  • Changing the perception of Liberal Judaism within the community by an enhanced media presence and strong messaging.

Speaking to Council, Danny made the following statement: “It has been my privilege and pleasure to have served the cause of Liberal Judaism all my working life, first for two decades as rabbi to Kingston Liberal Synagogue and for the last fifteen years as Liberal Judaism’s professional head.

“The Book of Ecclesiastes observes, ‘for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven’, and I have decided that it is the right moment for me to turn my mind and skills to other opportunities.

“In paying tribute to many rabbinic and lay colleagues, to professional and lay volunteers and to Liberal Jewish congregants and others, I am pleased with what Liberal Judaism has become during the last fifteen years and what it has achieved during my tenure.

“I cherish the partnerships I have built with all Liberal Judaism constituent communities throughout England and in Edinburgh, Dublin and Copenhagen.

“Alongside many Liberal Judaism initiatives and a thriving LJY-Netzer, I am particularly proud of the crucial role of Liberal Judaism, in partnership with Citizens UK and others, in making the United Kingdom a welcoming home for Syrian refugees, and of the Liberal Judaism leadership – with the Quakers and Unitarians – to persuade Parliament to introduce equal marriage.

“As I move to pastures new, I shall continue to play a different role in promoting Liberal Jewish values and furthering the Jewish mission – to contribute to the creation of a decent and worthy society in which ‘a person may sit under the vine and the fig and no other person shall make them afraid.”

Read tributes to Danny from Liberal Judaism president Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein and acting chair Ruth Seager here.