Reform movement hails its northern lights


Developing Reform Judaism in the north and ways of sharing resources in the region have been discussed by more than 100 movement members at a gathering in north Yorkshire.

Eleven of Reform’s 13 northern congregations were represented at the chagigah (celebration), at which examples of co-operation highlighted included the Northern Learning House, where lay leaders gain service leading experience through online learning and residential weekends.

Andrew Keen, board member for the World Union for Progressive Judaism, ran a workshop on what Progressive communities around the world are doing to innovate in areas of ritual, social justice and youth engagement.

There were also Limmud-style sessions on topics including Judaism and agriculture with Jewish farmer Sara Moon and a celebration of the Balfour Declaration centenary incorporating an Israel café.

In her welcoming remarks, Sarita Robinson, the movement’s northern community partner, observed that “Reform Judaism is underpinning growth and well-being and devolving best practice across all our communities for their and our future together”.

Among delegates, Sherry Ashworth of Manchester Reform Synagogue said: “The cumulative effect of being together with our sister northern Reform communities is terrific.

“We all felt Reform Judaism in the north of England is on an upswing. We are growing in numbers, enthusiasm, learning and commitment.”

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