Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner to quit as Reform movement's senior rabbi

Leaders pay tribute as Rabbi Janner-Klausner announces that she is leaving to pursue academic studies


Reform Judaism senior rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner is stepping down at the beginning of October.

Announcing the news, Reform chair Geoffrey Marx said: "We are so blessed to have had Rabbi Laura serving our movement with tremendous energy, warmth and integrity."

Reform Judaism had been "transformed" under her leadership since 2012. "We are now acknowledged major players in debates of national importance, standing up for our values on issues that matter – refugees; antisemitism; LGBT+; progressive Zionism. From our leading efforts on the campaign for equal marriage and our front-line role standing up for refugees, I know that her work has made Britain better. The movement, with its outstanding rabbinic and cantorial leadership, is well placed to build on this success.”

Rabbi Janner-Klausner said she would be leaving at the start of the academic year to take a PhD in digital theology - "yes that really is a thing" - at Durham University. "I will be looking at the experience of Jewish young adults who are involved in online communities and seeing how this impacts on their perception and participation in our in-person community activities. I am also going to be training leaders in resilience, especially in times of crisis."

She added that Reform Judaism "has, and always will have, a special place in my heart. I have loved my time in this role, in particular the opportunity to work closely with the professional and lay leaders of our youth movement, RSY-Netzer, for which I will always hold the deepest love and admiration. My heartfelt thanks go to my rabbinic and cantorial colleagues for their professionalism and commitment, my colleagues at Reform Judaism, with whom it has been a true joy to work, and the members of all our synagogues, whose vibrant and unwavering passion for community has been an inspiration to me daily. It is with a mixture of sadness and excitement that I am looking forward to the next chapter.”

Paying tribute, Rabbi Fabian Sborovsky, chair of the Assembly of Reform Cantors and Rabbis, said: “Rabbi Laura is a wonderful colleague and mentor to many of us. We are immensely grateful to her for providing such wise and inspirational leadership.”

Reform's annual dinner, which will now take place virtually on October 15, will celebrate Rabbi Janner-Klausner's contribution to the movement.

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