Bournemouth breakaway group takes Liberal stance

By Corinne Rein, July 1, 2010

The Southern Jewish Community, established by disaffected Bournemouth Reform congregants, is in discussions with the Liberal movement.

Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich addressed 70 people at an open meeting organised by the community at a local hotel. Afterwards, Rabbi Rich spoke to 40 community members, whose spokesman Nat Roseman said they would be pursuing the relationship.

The movement would help in the arranging and conducting of services and with the practical aspects of establishing a Liberal congregation.

Addressing the open meeting, Rabbi Rich acknowledged that the split in the Reform shul had been painful for many.

"I am not here to close down Bournemouth Reform Synagogue," he stressed, adding that he was pleased to see Bournemouth Reform minister Rabbi Neil Amswych among the audience.

His visit was in response to interest from locals who wanted to know more about Liberal Judaism, although a Wessex Liberal community could stretch from "Cornwall to Eastbourne".

When a questioner suggested that the town could not sustain two Progressive congregations, Rabbi Rich replied that Liberal and Reform have different religious principles.

He also pointed out that Liberal Judaism had been contacted by unaffiliated Jews, some from the New Forest area.

Last updated: 12:55pm, July 1 2010