Reform movement

Oxfam official to be shown Sderot

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The head of the Reform movement, Rabbi Tony Bayfield, is to take a senior representative of Oxfam next week to Sderot, the southern Israeli town that has been the prime target of rocket attacks from Gaza.

“We will be going to a school in Sderot,” he told a meeting of the Reform council on Sunday, “and he can see Israeli children who have been physically and psychologically traumatised by the war to understand a bit better that there are two sides to the story.”

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Leaders' fresh pledge on harmony

By Simon Rocker, February 19, 2009

Leaders of the United Synagogue, Reform, Liberal and Masorti movements have made a fresh pledge of commitment to the Stanmore Accords, the 1998 agreement to avoid infighting and promote co-operation.

The Stanmore Accords recognised that British Jewry was “damaged by infighting and mutual recrimination”.

Yet the future of the agreement had been in doubt amid growing dissatisfaction among the non-Orthodox bodies with the progress achieved.

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Finchley gets more spiritual

February 12, 2009

Finchley Reform Synagogue has appointed a director of spiritual development to find “alternative means for people to grapple with their spiritual journeys”.

In the new role, Rabbi Howard Cooper will conduct a Shabbat morning service once a month, play a part in festival services and contribute to the shul’s adult education activities.

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Reform proposes merger

December 23, 2008

The leader of the US Reform movement, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, proposed that some of his movement’s synagogues could pool resources and merge with Conservative shuls to save costs in the face of the global economic crisis.

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Salary freeze at Reform

December 11, 2008

The Reform movement has deferred pay increases for staff for six months because of the economic situation. Salary rises have been postponed from the beginning of January until July.

Movement head Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield told its quarterly council meeting on Monday that although some donors had been badly affected by the financial crisis, others had offered additional support

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Reform forced to shut Northern office

By Simon Rocker, October 30, 2008

The Reform Movement is to close its Northern office in Manchester as part of a package of cuts caused by the general financial crisis.

Three staff are to be laid off in the synagogue services department, admin and IT, members of the movement's council were told at a quarterly meeting in London on Sunday.

Despite an increased yield from its annual dinner earlier this month, the Reform's fundraising target of £980,000 is likely to fall short by £21,000 this year: and it is planning to cut is spending by around £270,000 to just over £3 million next year.

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Reform launches outreach arm as alternative to Aish

By Simon Rocker, October 17, 2008

The Reform movement is about to take the first step to launch an alternative to Aish, the Orthodox outreach organisation for young adults.

A residential weekend next month will be the inaugural event by the Assembly of Reform Rabbis to offer a "non-fundamentalist" alternative.

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Accord: we want to broaden education

By Simon Rocker, September 4, 2008

Rabbi Jonathan Romain was this week at pains to point out that the new Accord campaign, which he chairs, is not against the existence of faith schools.
Its aim was to bring religious schools under greater state control, he explained at the new group's London launch on Monday.

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Reform blasts own rabbi on faith schools

By Simon Rocker, September 4, 2008

The chairman of Britain's Reform movement has distanced it from the involvement of the head of its rabbinic assembly, Rabbi Jonathan Romain, in a new campaign to curb faith schools.

The Chief Rabbi, meanwhile, offered the JC a comment article extolling the "essential" role of Jewish faith schools.

Last week, the JC reported that Rabbi Romain, the Reform rabbi of Maidenhead synagogue, was among religious leaders planning to lobby the government to prevent state-funded faith schools using a child's or parent's religion in determining admission.

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Teens: let us smoke on tour

By Dana Gloger, August 1, 2008

The hot topic among Jewish youth movements this summer has been whether or not to allow participants to smoke on "tour" - the Israel summer schemes for post-GCSE 16-year-olds.

The dilemma arises over a change in UK law which has raised the age at which cigarettes can be bought to 18, the same as in Israel. But legally, 16-year-olds in Britain can smoke.

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