Premier progress

The JC Leader, 3 December 2020

December 03, 2020 14:32

Educating the world about racism takes time — but the move by the Premier League and virtually all of its clubs to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism is a sign of immense progress.

The only benefit of Labour’s antisemitism crisis has been that it has forced many in British society and politics to focus on the various manifestations of Jew-hate and how — in detail — to combat them.

That is exactly what the IHRA document helps us do. Critics, largely on the left, have argued that the definition outlaws criticism of Israel and silences defenders of the Palestinian cause. It does neither, as more and more civil society institutions are now acknowledging. This is a moment to celebrate.

Glimmer of hope

The disruption to the Jewish way of supporting mourners has been one of the cruellest effects of the pandemic. Instead of sitting shivah at home, surrounded by family and friends, mourners have often been alone, comforted online. For many this will have added to the trauma of bereavement.

So it is good news that the United Synagogue can now incorporate shivah services into standard synagogue services, and will allow  one commemorative event in a shul, for 15 participants.

It is, of course, an imperfect compromise. But it does offer mourners a measure of company, and offers hope that in the coming months we may once again come together to support those who need the rituals of Judaism the most.

December 03, 2020 14:32

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