Reform's 'more intense' Glastonbury alternative
Young guests get the Chagigah spirit
A sold out Chagigah weekend celebrating Reform Judaism was described as "full of joy and love" by guest speaker Rabbi Dr Larry Hoffman.
For Radlett Reform's Rabbi Paul Freedman,"it's been like Glastonbury but more intense. We've had a fantastic experience and as a community we will return uplifted and invigorated."
New York-based Rabbi Hoffman specialises in "synagogue transformation" and has worked with hundreds of communities worldwide.
He told the 260 participants - including 100 first timers - at the Nottingham venue that the movement had changed since his last visit 20 years ago. There was now "more intimacy and spirituality". He called on Reform Jews to to "think big". In a changing Jewish world it was important to respond to challenges with optimism and vision to "move the great project of Reform Judaism forwards".
The sentiment was echoed in a dvar Torah by senior movement rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, who said Reform members were "uniquely placed to inspire Jews of all ages with a Judaism of greater meaning".
Chagigah featured music-filled services and over 40 sessions with speakers and educators.There were also quizzes, wine tasting, arts and crafts and storytelling.
Tracy Israel of Cardiff Reform Synagogue said the weekend "has challenged me to think in new ways, raising my awareness and broadening my horizons. I feel that my Reform Judaism has been reaffirmed."
Hull Reform's Heather Harris said that in a welcoming environment, "it was easy to make new friends and strike up conversations. The whole weekend has been a thoroughly engaging, inspiring and uplifting experience."