Kaddish for Gaza participant joins Liberal Israel tour after being dropped from Reform tour

Nina Morris-Evans was dropped from leading the tour for taking part in the mourning prayer for 62 Palestinians killed in Gaza


A student, who was dropped from leading an Israel tour for taking part in the “Kaddish for Gaza”, has joined another tour after Liberal Judaism stepped in at the last minute, despite objections from the tour's principal organisers.

Nina Morris-Evans, 20, was among a group of young Jews who sparked a huge row when they said the Jewish mourning prayer for 62 Palestinians who died in clashes on the border with Israel in May.

The group went ahead with the event, held outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, despite the fact Hamas had claimed 50 of those killed were members of the terror group.

Morris-Evans was subjected to a barrage of "misogynistic, violent" online abuse afterwards.

The Oxford University student was initially allowed to still lead the tour for the Reform movement’s youth wing, RSY-Netzer, provided she was mentored.

But Reform Judaism – in conjunction with its youth wing, RSY-Netzer, and UJIA – announced last week she was being dropped altogether. UJIA, which organises and funds the tours, said of the decision: "There is such a thing as going too far."

The JC has learned that Ms Morris-Evans departed on Sunday for a month-long tour with LJY-Netzer, the youth affiliate of Liberal Judaism.

The JC understands that she will work as an additional support worker, dealing with welfare issues.

A UJIA spokesperson said: "UJIA disagrees with Liberal Judaism and LJY-Netzer’s decision to take Nina Morris-Evans as a support worker on Israel Tour. We have expressed our concerns to Liberal Judaism directly. UJIA continues to support this summer’s LJY-Netzer Israel Tour and wishes all of the participants a fantastic trip."

UJIA said they were going to consult on how they should accommodate "the new reality of Israel discourse in the community".

"We specifically appreciate that many of our young people, on all sides of the political divide are among the most passionate," the spokesperson said. "We also fear for those in our community who are repelled by the tone of the discourse and will disengage."

Rabbi Danny Rich, the senior rabbi and chief executive of Liberal Judaism, made the decision to offer her a place after being approached by “advocates” of Ms Morris-Evans.

Rabbi Rich said: “We have a very diverse group of participants this year and I knew the extra support would be valuable. So after a full interview process, and checking of references, I offered her the role.”

Ms Morris-Evans has previously worked as a youth leader with RSY-Netzer, and has experience as a cheder teacher.

Michael Wegier, the chief executive of UJIA, told the JC that Liberal Judaism made the decision without consulting his organisation.

After the Kaddish event, Liberal Judaism’s director of strategy and partnerships, Rabbi Charley Baginsky, said the movement “has always supported the right of individual members of Liberal Judaism to voice their own personal opinions, even when they differ from others.

"We have within our membership a spectrum of views, which are always particularly visible in regards Israel and Palestine. Our ability to hear different voices and respect the other continues to be one of our strengths.”

She added she “personally would not have participated in this event and know that many of our members are disturbed by the actions of this group, I equally refuse to be drawn into the violent abuse that has been levelled at those who did participate.”

Rabbi Janner-Klausner, Reform Judaism's senior rabbi, condemned "bullies and abusers" in the community who targeted Ms Morris-Evans.

But Ms Morris-Evans's sister, Shulamit, criticised the movement in an open letter to Rabbi Janner-Klausner, accusing it of "exposing one of their own to a vicious and vitriolic outpouring of extreme right-wing, misogynistic glee".

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