Chief to host Reform leaders

By Simon Rocker, June 16, 2011

The Chief Rabbi will be at a meeting of a group working to improve relations between Orthodox and non-Orthodox for the first time since its inception 12 years ago.

Later this month, Lord Sacks will host a meeting at his home of the community consultative committee, bringing together leaders of the United Synagogue, Reform, Liberal and Masorti movements.

The committee was set up to restore communal peace after the discord caused by the Chief Rabbi's reaction to the death of Reform leader Rabbi Hugo Gryn in 1997. The London Beth Din raised objections to the committee's formation and the first meeting was so sensitive that its venue was changed at the last minute in an attempt to avoid press coverage.

Lord Sacks is hosting the meeting at the request of Simon Hochhauser, who will be attending the committee for the last time before stepping down as US president.

The presence of Reform, Masorti and Liberal representatives at a reception hosted by the Chief Rabbi in the Lords last month to mark Dr Hochhauser's retirement as US head was an indication of improving relations.

Reform chairman Stephen Moss said the Chief Rabbi's agreement to host the committee "confirms his support and belief that our meeting together is a good thing.

"We can't solve all the issues that crop up but it's helpful to have the dialogue."

Last updated: 2:23pm, June 16 2011