Progressive plea on advocacy

The joint vice-chairman of Manchester Jewish Representative Council has asked for assurances that the Progressive community will enjoy equal participation in the Israel advocacy conference due to take place in November.

Mike Samuels - a member of the Orthodox South Manchester Synagogue - expressed concern at the possibility that the Reform movement might be "sidelined" at the Big Tent for Israel conference.

He has raised the issue with the initiator of the event, Whitefield Hebrew Congregation's Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag.

Mr Samuels wanted to know that "if a Reform rabbi asked to participate in the event, would he be given a platform? I didn't get a straight answer."

Rabbi Guttentag said the aim of the conference was to build a new movement to counter the delegitimisation of Israel. The first step was creating a public platform where "everyone in the community who has something to give feels comfortable to come forward and give it."

Rabbi Brian Fox of the Cheshire Reform Congregation - who regularly speaks on Israel matters and plans to make aliyah next year - said he had not received an invitation to the conference. "If I were invited, I would speak with pleasure."

    Last updated: 12:46pm, September 8 2011