Meet the media-savvy voice of Reform Judaism

By Simon Rocker, July 21, 2011
Influential broadcaster: Janner-Klausner

Influential broadcaster: Janner-Klausner

The Reform movement has appointed its first full-time rabbinic spokesman to act as its voice on religious issues.

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, 47, who has served with one of the biggest Reform communities, the North-Western Reform Synagogue (Alyth Gardens) in London for eight years, will move to the new role of movement rabbi in January.

Her rising media profile, which includes contributions to Radio 4's Thought for the Day and BBC1's The Big Questions, made her a natural choice.

Ben Rich, the movement's chief executive, said: "In Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Reform Judaism has identified a new national voice for mainstream British Jewry. She articulates values, beliefs and practices that resonate with the vast majority of British Jews."

Reform leaders were keen to have a rabbi as part of their senior management team following Rabbi Tony Bayfield's retirement as head last year. But they have insisted that the new position is not meant to be seen as an alternative Chief Rabbi.

Jenny Pizer, chair-elect of the movement, said: "Rabbi Janner-Klausner was the outstanding candidate for the position.

"She is an influential broadcaster and writer, a great teacher and a popular rabbi of one of our flourishing communities. She will be a huge asset to the movement."

The daughter of Lord Janner, she studied divinity at Cambridge before spending 15 years in Israel.

Last updated: 2:46pm, July 21 2011