Masorti gets the taste for growth


Masorti Judaism is looking to spread its wings with initiatives planned in a number of new locations.

Its chief executive Matt Plen reported that there had been two activities in Muswell Hill, "we're doing an initial activity in Mill Hill and we're also looking at launching a study group in south Manchester".

The movement's newest London community, Stoke Newington, has benefited from regular visits over the past year from student rabbi, Roni Tabick, the son of Reform ministers Jackie and Larry Tabick.

Mr Tabick is in his final year at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative rabbinical academy in New York. "He is on a fellowship for rabbinic students who want to work with small communities and he is the first student to do so in a community in the UK," Mr Plen explained.

"He has been coming once a month to Stoke Newington, leading services and study sessions and giving pastoral support. After he graduates from JTS, our plan is for him to work with Stoke Newington and for the rest of the time to work with other small communities and young people."

Stoke Newington currently has around 50 members, among them Lord Glasman and journalist Jonathan Freedland.

"I think Stoke Newington can become a significant community in that part of London. There are more non-Charedi Jews coming into the area," Mr Plen added.

A second Masorti trainee rabbi - Oliver Joseph, from New North London Synagogue - is also due to graduate next year from another American institution, the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in California.

Mr Plen said Masorti was hoping to "build a team around the two new rabbis who can provide strong leadership around our emerging communities".

The movement is also drawing on support from former New London Synagogue chazan Stephen Cotsen, now Cardiff-based, who is providing cantorial services to small communities; and from Zahavit Shalev, a NNLS member who is a rabbinic student at Leo Baeck College in London.

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