LJ Day of Celebration

Liberal Judaism’s leaders and rabbis outlined “big dreams of what is possible” at the Day of Celebration 2022 – our movement’s first in-person event for three years.

More than 150 people joined us at The Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John's Wood. We were also able to stream live to over 100 people thanks to a generous grant from the NLPS Trust.

In her opening remarks, Liberal Judaism CEO Rabbi Charley Baginsky outlined our many recent successes and urged delegates to continue to help our movement develop and grow as we celebrate this 120th anniversary year.

Charley said: “Today is all about exploring the past and beginning to think about the future.

“At the start of the pandemic, we made a commitment. We committed to collaboration, to raising up a multitude of voices and to ensuring that Liberal Judaism met the needs of those on the margins. But we also committed to ensuring that we were not seen as a marginal part of Judaism, but rather a central place in the beautiful spectrum of what it means to be Jewish.

“This creative fulcrum where Liberal and Judaism meet now needs to be nurtured. We have such big dreams of what is possible and now is the time to bring them to fruition.”

Liberal Judaism President Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein also laid down a challenge, saying: “In its 120 years, Liberal Judaism has faced several eras of change and challenge and has come out stronger, has often led the Jewish way and has been creative and outward looking, yet inwardly inclusive. Our next challenge starts now with this conference. Let us renew our enthusiasm and increase our commitment.”

The Day of Celebration’s keynote presentation was given by Sara Nathan, Co-Founder of Refugees at Home, and World Jewish Relief CEO Paul Anticoni (pictured above). They outlined what role Liberal Jews can play to assist in the many refugee crises currently unfolding around the world.

Liberal Judaism CEO Rabbi Charley Baginsky and JW3 CEO Raymond Simonson present a session

Liberal Judaism CEO Rabbi Charley Baginsky and JW3 CEO Raymond Simonson

Other speakers and presenters at the event included JW3 CEO Raymond Simonsen, Reclaim the Streets Co-Founder Jamie Klinger and the Church of England's first Minority Ethnic Vocations Officer Rosemarie Davidson-Gotobed, as well as Liberal Judaism Chair Ruth Seager.

Liberal Judaism Rabbis Sandra Kviat, Janet Burden, Margaret Jacobi, Danny Rich, Alexandra Wright and Anna Wolfson ran sessions during the day, as did Student Rabbi Rafe Thurstance and soon-to-be Rabbis Gabriel Kanter-Webber and Lev Taylor from Leo Baeck College.

The fun was provided with a cookery demonstration by top chef Silvia Nacamulli, a concert from three of Liberal Judaism’s finest musicians – Judith Silver, Joseph Finlay and Alexander Massey – and a full programme of youth events put on by LJY-Netzer, where young Liberal Jews did everything from designing their own Torah to dressing up as the rabbis of the future.

This was all accompanied by an exhibition of the Heritage Lottery funded history project Lily’s Legacy, which documents Liberal Judaism's radical history inspired by Lily Montagu and our movement’s other founders.

Liberal youth create their own Torahs

Liberal youth create their own Torahs as part of the LJY-Netzer programme

Rabbi Igor Zinkov, who co-chaired the Day of Celebration organising committee, said: “To have everyone back together in person after three years, while still making use of the new skills we learned in the pandemic to open our doors wider than ever, was truly special. But even more special is what will happen next, as we leave the day enthused and ready for the next steps in our Liberal Judaism story.”

Thoughts now turn to our fundraiser on 19 and 20 June 2022, when we aim to raise £500,000 so that we can continue to ensure that everyone has a home for their Jewish story.

We are looking LJ Ambassadors to help us – by telling their stories to encourage and enthuse their friends and family, members of their communities and even their neighbours to donate to this campaign.

Please go ahead and sign up as an LJ Ambassador today at www.bringingjudaismhome.org - and together we can bring Judaism home.

  • Pictures by Yakir Zur.