Tobias pilots change in Progressive reading

By Jay Grenby, August 19, 2010

The Liberal Synagogue Elstree is to pilot a new triennial structure for Torah readings, allowing extended readings from the five books of the Torah.

Shul minister and Liberal Judaism rabbinic conference chair Pete Tobias is behind the project, drawing up the revised structure during a sabbatical. Rabbi Tobias has long believed that the yearly pattern of Torah readings in most Progressive synagogues offers an unconnected selection of excerpts giving no sense of the whole.

He hopes to provide a greater sense of continuity, although "there is still much that is omitted - most of it with good reason.

"In the first year, all the palatable stories of the book of Genesis will be heard. The second year looks at the history of the Israeli people, from Egypt and through the wilderness, with readings from the first half of the book of Exodus, much of the book of Numbers and elements from the book of Deuteronomy. The third year concentrates on the priestly and prophetic elements of the Torah."

Elstree congregants are backing the change and he is optimistic that other Liberal congregations may take it up.

"It was discussed at the rabbinic conference in April and deemed to be of possible interest. It is being considered by three other congregations. But everyone is waiting to see how the experiment proceeds at TLSE."

Last updated: 12:26pm, August 19 2010