Reform leaders have warned supporters about the impact of the recession on activities.
Addressing over 200 guests at the Movement for Reform Judaism’s annual dinner in central London, movement head Rabbi Tony Bayfield said he was “deeply worried about the remainder of this year and next year. We get no government grants, no public funding. We are entirely dependent upon private individuals.
“Never more than now do we need you to commit wholeheartedly to the future that you see.”
Reform chairman Stephen Moss reported on cost-cutting measures, even down to the provision of tap, rather than bottled water, at the dinner, which raised almost £250,000.
“The last 15 months have not quite been as laid back and easy-going as I was schmoozed into thinking by my predecessor.
“It’s currently a tough time for the charity sector and we are keeping a careful lid on costs and recycling where we can.”
However, the full house at the dinner at the Royal Institute of British Architects was a testament to the commitment of core supporters.
National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner was guest speaker, praising the Reform movement and saying that modernity and interpretation was as relevant in religion as in the performing arts.
“We have a lot in common, the world I’m part of and the great movement you represent. To honour tradition, we look at the past always with fresh eyes.”
A Manchester Reform congregant in his youth, Mr Hytner now describes himself as “irreligious”.