Reform movement

Hall of Infamy: Glenn Beck

February 23, 2011

"Reformed rabbis are generally political in nature. It's almost like Islam, radicalised Islam in a way.

"Radicalised Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. When you look at the reform Judaism, it is more about politics.

"It's not about terror or anything else, it's about politics, and so it becomes more about politics than it does about faith."

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German Jews celebrate new Reform synagogue

By Jennifer Lipman, February 22, 2011

The first Reform synagogue to open in Germany since before the Holocaust has been dedicated.

The synagogue has been built in Hameln, in Lower Saxony, at the site of one destroyed by the Nazis more than 70 years ago on Kristellnacht.

Building of the Beitenu synagogue and community centre, intended to serve around 200 Jews in the town, was partly funded by the state.

Rachel Dohme, president of the new congregation, said: "It's incredible that, after the Shoah, in Germany a synagogue could be built with money that came from German political organisations.”

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Ben Rich named as new Reform Judaism head

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2011

The Movement for Reform Judaism has appointed public relations consultant Ben Rich to be its next chief executive.

He will succeed executive director Rabbi Shoshana Boyd-Gelfand full-time in May, although he will begin working with her next month to ensure a smooth transition.

Mr Rich, 44, is already familiar with the movement, having acted as its PR adviser on projects such as the launch of the Reform siddur three years ago.

His communal experience also includes work for the Jewish Community Secondary School and Mitzvah Day.

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British Reform leader Mike Grabiner picked for international role

By Jennifer Lipman, February 16, 2011

British Jew has been named as the new chairman of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Mike Grabiner, the former chair of the Movement for Reform Judaism will replace current chairman, Californian Steven Bauman, at the umbrella organisation. The WUPJ serves communities in more than 45 countries around the world.

Mr Grabiner, a member of Finchley Reform Synagogue, is the chair of governors for the recently opened cross-communal secondary school JcoSS.

A Cambridge University graduate, he grew up in an Orthodox household but moved to Reform Judaism as an adult.

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Rabbi confirmed in West London post

By Simon Rocker, February 1, 2011

Rabbi Julia Neuberger said she was thrilled to become the next senior rabbi of West London Synagogue after a ballot of members confirmed her appointment.

Baroness Neuberger, who will join part-time in March with the aim of becoming full-time in September, said: “This is the leading Reform synagogue in the UK and it’s a huge privilege to be asked to lead it.”

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West London voting on Baroness Neuberger

By Simon Rocker, January 20, 2011

Members of the Reform movement's flagship community, the West London Synagogue, were this week casting their votes on whether to accept Baroness Neuberger as their new senior rabbi.

The 60-year-old peer, who is president of Liberal Judaism, was unanimously recommended by the West London board to succeed Rabbi Mark Winer, who left in October. But her appointment is subject to a postal ballot of members, which closes next Friday.

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Baroness Neuberger set for West London

By Simon Rocker, January 14, 2011

As predicted by the JC two weeks ago, the Lib Dem peeress Baroness Neuberger is set to be the new senior rabbi of the Reform movement’s flagship congregation, the West London Synagogue.

Rabbi Neuberger, 60, who is currently the president of Liberal Judaism, has been unanimously been recommended to succeed Rabbi Mark Winer by West London’s council.

But her appointment must still be confirmed by a ballot of synagogue members.

If she takes the post, it will be her first full-time pulpit since she served as rabbi of South London Liberal Synagogue from 1977 to 1989.

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Reform chief to leave for social action job

By Simon Rocker, December 2, 2010

The Reform movement’s leadership succession plans have been derailed by the decision of Rabbi Shoshaha Boyd Gelfand, the designated chief executive, to leave for a new job outside the organisation.

Rabbi Boyd Gelfand, the current executive director, was due to take over the professional reins of the organisation from Rabbi Tony Bayfield, who retires as head of movement at the end of the year.

But she has instead chosen to become the new director of JHub, the centre for Jewish social action enterprise and innovation.

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Reform leader Bayfield to retire early

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2010

Rabbi Tony Bayfield, the head of the Movement for Reform Judaism, is to step down six months earlier than expected at the beginning of January.

The leader of the movement since 1995, he had been due to retire at the end of June shortly before his 65th birthday, with executive director Rabbi Shoshana Boyd-Gelfand becoming chief executive - and the first female rabbi to be professional head of a British synagogue body.

But Rabbi Bayfield told members of the Reform council yesterday that the handover had gone so smoothly that he felt able to leave earlier.

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Lord Sacks criticised by progressive rabbi

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2010

A leading Progressive rabbi has launched a scathing attack on Lord Sacks and the British chief rabbinate.

Rabbi Dow Marmur said that although the outside world may regard Lord Sacks as representing British Jewry, his authority in the community was “dwindling”.

“When it is an incontrovertible fact…that Rabbi Sacks’ standing is declining, there are reasons to ignore him as much as possible,” Rabbi Marmur wrote in the new issue of Manna, the Progressive quarterly.

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