Liberals

Liberal chief hits out at religious 'anit-democracy'

May 6, 2010

Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich condemned religious coercion and sectarianism in his address to the movement's biggest biennial conference, held in Gloucestershire.

Addressing an audience of over 300, he said that some religious followers have "declared in both word - and frequently more tragically in deed - that democracy is in opposition to the values and practices of religious faith."

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Liberal Judaism's first Israel and diaspora officer

May 6, 2010

As part of Liberal Judaism's commitment to "a progressive and democratic Israel", Daniel Needlestone has been appointed its first Israel and diaspora officer.

He will work closely with full-time shlicha Dana Friedman and the Liberal Judaism chairman and chief executive, Lucian Hudson and Rabbi Danny Rich, who were both recently in Israel to strengthen links with the movement's partners.

A graduate of UJIA's Adam Science leadership programme, Mr Needlestone is co-chair of Pro-Zion and founder and chair of the UK Jewish Teachers Association.

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Clegg: Tonge 'ludicrous but not racist'

By Robyn Rosen, February 12, 2010

Nick Clegg has reacted further to LibDem peer Baroness Tonge's comment this week that Israel should set up an inquiry to disprove allegations that its medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims for use in transplants.

The party leader insisted that despite admitting her comments were “ludicrous, ”she was not “antisemitic or racist”.

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Tonge: Investigate IDF stealing organs in Haiti

By Simon Rocker and Martin Bright, February 11, 2010

Baroness Tonge, the Liberal peer, said this week that Israel should set up an inquiry to disprove allegations that its medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims for use in transplants.

Her call has been sharply criticised by fellow LibDems, but party leader Nick Clegg has refused to act against her.

The organ theft claims were published last week in the Palestine Telegraph, an online journal based in Gaza of which Baroness Tonge is a patron.

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Liberal Judaism backs campaign against sexual discrimination

By Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

Liberal Judaism is backing a campaign to restrict the exemptions sought by some religious groups from anti-discrimination laws.

It is giving support to the Cutting Edge Consortium, a coalition of gay rights and progressive organisations, lobbying over the Equalities Bill currently before Parliament.

The bill is meant to consolidate existing laws against discrimination on grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age and disability.

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Stanley Fink backs Liberal Judaism

November 26, 2009

Hedge fund boss and Tory Party fundraiser Stanley Fink lauded the inclusive nature of Liberal congregations when he hosted Liberal Judaism’s patrons evening in central London on Monday.

Mr Fink said that he and his wife Barbara had been warmly welcomed by the movement. Its ethos tallied with their own and they had become keen advocates of Liberal Judaism.

Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich told patrons that their donations were being used in creative ways. As well as supporting the development of new communities, the money was helping younger congregants.

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Jenny Tonge lashed over fascist link

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2009

An anti-fascist group has demanded that Baroness Tonge withdraws from a pro-Palestinian conference in December which is also due to be addressed by a far-right Hungarian Euro-MP.

The ‘Nothing British About the BNP’ group challenged the Liberal Democrat peer over the planned participation of Kristina Morvai, leader of the nationalist Jobbik party in the European Parliament.

But Nasim Ahmed, researcher for the Palestinian Return Centre, denied that Mrs Morvai was “among invited guests” and said it deplored her “extremist” party.

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Solomon gets Scots and interfaith roles

By Simon Rocker, September 17, 2009

Rabbi Mark Solomon has left the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood, after nine years to take up a new role as interfaith consultant for Liberal Judaism.

He has also become part-time rabbi of Sukkat Shalom, Edinburgh’s Liberal community, and will take services over the High Holy-Days.

Rabbi Solomon, a trustee of the Interfaith Alliance UK, said that “Jewish-Muslim links are very important these days, but I hope to build links more widely as well”.

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First rabbi for fledgling Gloucestershire

July 16, 2009

Rabbinical student Anna Gerrard is to work for a year with Liberal Judaism’s fledgling Gloucestershire community.

London-born Ms Gerrard, 29, holds a theology degree from Birmingham University and has worked for Liberal Judaism’s young adults outreach programme. She relishes the prospect of assisting the “exciting development” of the 50-member group and will be dividing her time between Gloucestershire and Jerusalem, where she is continuing her studies.

Community founder member Allison Hyman said: “Anna will be crucial at helping with cheder classes.”

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Never mind the bullocks - just heed the prophets

By Rabbi Pete Tobias, April 30, 2009

It is a beautiful spring morning. The months (years?) of planning are over and the barmitzvah boy is about to be called up to read from the Torah, the book at the heart of the Jewish faith in which he is symbolically taking his place this Shabbat. Nervously, he lifts the piece of paper on which is his dvar Torah, his explanation of the portion he is about to read, and its significance for him as he becomes a Jewish adult. Glancing at the congregation, he begins to read words he has prepared on the subject of … menstruation. Or leprosy.

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