Why I am a Reformed man

By Ben Rich, April 1, 2011

On leaving university, I dabbled in politics, until a headhunter suggested public relations as "more of a real job". So I spent the next 13 years helping an eclectic selection of clients such as McDonald's tell their customers what they were about. My father has never really understood this. "It's communications, Dad. Helping organisations explain what they do."


Seder joy in Wimbledon

By Simon Rocker, March 31, 2011

Wimbledon (Reform) Synagogue will for the first time have communal Seders on both nights of Pesach rather than just one.

Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild said: "We have a huge number of kids in the community. So second night Seder is going to be more geared to the family."


Leadership posts filled for RSY

March 11, 2011

The three Manchester area Reform communities now have youth leaders following two recent appointments of Manchester University students.

Michael Garsin is in situ at Jackson's Row (Manchester Reform Synagogue). It was heartening, he said, to be "surrounded by such an enthusiastic and dedicated group of people".


Reform gets Rich with executive choice

By Simon Rocker, February 24, 2011

The Movement for Reform Judaism, which has been professionally headed by a rabbi for the past 16 years, has chosen public relations expert Ben Rich to be its new 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.


New chapter for up and coming leaders

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 11, 2011

Ten up and coming Manchester Jewish community leaders were given a reading list by the Chief Rabbi during a weekend in London when they met top communal personalities.

Manchester UJIA United Jewish Leadership Group members spent Shabbat with Rafi Zarum, head of the London School of Jewish Studies, hearing how he had helped to turn around the former Jews' College.

The group then split between Masorti's New North London Synagogue, Finchley Synagogue and the North Western Reform Synagogue in Golders Green.


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.


Tour teens' Reform voucher aid

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2010

Every teenager who has had a bar- or batmitzvah in a Reform synagogue is to be given a £100 voucher towards the cost of an Israel summer tour.

Recipients will be able to redeem their voucher if they opt to go on tour with RSY-Netzer. The new scheme has been sponsored in memory of Tilda Warshaw, a prominent Emunah member who died last year.

RSY worker Alma Smith said: "A bar or batmitzvah is an important step along a young person's Jewish journey and we are delighted that we can be a part of such a special occasion."


Reform revises cash plan

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2010

The Reform movement has had to revise hopes of recording a small surplus this year - and is instead forecasting a deficit of £32,600.

Reform spends around £3,150,000 and had budgeted at the year's start for a profit of £28,600. Treasurer Hugh Lask told Reform council members at Sunday's quarterly meeting in London: "The forecast reflects the tough conditions in which we find ourselves."


Friday night not valid for school admissions

By Simon Rocker, October 14, 2010

A Reform rabbi has challenged the entry rules used by some Orthodox schools because they take into account synagogue attendance only on Saturday mornings and not Friday nights.

Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, of London's North-Western Reform Synagogue, said that the entry policy used by JFS was "galling".

But the school said that its entry criteria had been devised simply for administrative ease and not for any religious reasons.


BBC's Tim Franks at Reform dinner

October 7, 2010

The Reform Movement's annual dinner bucked the economic downturn twice over by attracting a record number of guests who raised a high of £270,000.

The 255 guests at the Royal Institute of British Architects in central London were treated to a dialogue between the newly-appointed British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, and the BBC's Tim Franks.