Suffolk notches up a double joy
There was a double celebration at the tiny Suffolk Liberal community with the batmitzvah of 60-year-old Beverley Levy and Rebecca Steiner marking her conversion to Judaism.
The women read the portion concerning the death of Sarah and Abraham's negotiations for burial land.
"I related Abraham's story to the Suffolk Jewish community," Ms Levy said. "We are currently negotiating land to have as a Jewish gravesite. This is extremely meaningful as by gaining a burial place, it will establish our Jewish community more firmly." She added that when she was 12, "girls weren't allowed to do a batmitzvah, so this is about me celebrating the fact that I am allowed to do it – not because I want to become more religious."
Mrs Steiner, 50, said that "from a young age I just felt I needed to be Jewish. It has taken me three years to convert and I now finally feel integrated into the Jewish family."
As the community does not have its own synagogue, the service - conducted by Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich - was held in a bowls pavilion in Ipswich.