Reform Judaism condemns 'misogynistic, violent abuse' of Gaza Kaddish participant

'We are sure that you are as appalled as we are'


Reform Judaism has condemned “the misogynistic, violent online abuse” hurled at one of its youth members who took part in the controversial Kaddish prayer for Palestinians killed in clashes on the Gaza border.

Nina Morris-Evans, 20, was dropped from an Israel tour she was due to lead amid the resulting fallout. One organiser said: “There is such a thing as going too far”.

After being identified as one of a group of young Jews who recited Kaddish for Gazans killed by Israeli forces, the Reform youth wing, RSY-Netzer, initially said she would still be able to lead the tour.

On Monday, Reform Judaism, RSY-Netzer and UJIA reversed the decision.

In a letter sent to clergy and community chairs on Wednesday afternoon, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Reform Judaism’s senior rabbi, and Geoffrey Marx, its chairman, condemned online abuse of Ms Morris-Evans since the Kaddish.

They said: “We are sure that you are as appalled as we are by the misogynistic, violent online abuse directed at this leader and at others that we have seen once again from some in the wider community.

“Reform Judaism is at the forefront of standing up to these kinds of bullies and abusers, and we have consistently demonstrated this. We know that there are many who express their anger and hurt far more constructively.

“People who act abusively will never have any influence over our decision making processes.”

Rabbi Janner-Klausner has previously warned that online targeting of the Kaddish participants – including death threats – was a “path to self-destruction”.

Last month, Marie van der Zyl, the new President of the Board of Deputies, issued an impassioned plea for unity in the aftermath of the row, saying the community "cannot afford to be divided in these times".

Rabbi Janner-Klausner and Mr Marx also reaffirmed Reform Judaism’s commitment to “giving members a strong voice”, saying it will continue to encourage young people to express their views publicly.

They added: “We are immensely proud of RSY-Netzer and of our youth leaders.

“Reform Judaism is committed to the pursuit of peace, and to a belief in a two state solution as a just outcome for both Israelis and Palestinians.

“We welcome that there are multiple views within our community, and we embrace the challenge of holding ‘arguments for the sake of heaven’, robustly and constructively discussing our differences.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive