Reform Judaism sorry for 'hurt' it caused Gaza Kaddish participant by dropping her from Israel tour

Nina Morris-Evans, 20, suffered 'enormous hurt', Reform board says


Reform Judaism has apologised for the “enormous hurt” it caused a student by dropping her from leading an Israel tour for taking part in the controversial “Kaddish for Gaza” event.

Nina Morris-Evans 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.

Ms Morris-Evans was subjected to a barrage of "misogynistic, violent" online abuse amid the row.

The 20-year-old eventually managed to join another tour after Liberal Judaism stepped in at the last minute to take her, despite objections from the principal organisers, UJIA.

In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, the Reform Judaism board said: “Reform Judaism and RSY-Netzer are pleased that Nina Morris-Evans is now working with LJY-Netzer Israel Tour.

“We are confident that she has the qualities to excel in this role and delighted that she now has the opportunity to engage with young people as part of another Netzer-led Israel Tour.

“We acknowledge that the process by which Nina Morris-Evans was removed from leading Israel Tour unintentionally led to enormous hurt, for which we sincerely apologise."

Ms Morris-Evans said she welcomed “the apology issued today by Reform Judaism, and their offer to set up an independent review of the processes which led to my dismissal as an RSY Tour leader.

“Anyone who has been as committed a member of a Zionist youth movement as me knows how important the experience of leading Israel tour is.

“I am extremely grateful to LJY Israel Tour for allowing me to be part of their leadership team this summer.”

When the Kaddish row began, Ms Morris-Evans was allowed to still lead the tour for the Reform movement’s youth wing, RSY-Netzer, provided she was underwent mentoring.

But Reform Judaism – in conjunction with its youth wing, RSY-Netzer, and UJIA – announced she was being dropped altogether - after UJIA said: "There is such a thing as going too far."

Ms Morris-Evans departed for a month-long tour with LJY-Netzer, the youth affiliate of Liberal Judaism, last week, despite the disapproval of UJIA, which help run both Reform and Liberal tours.

At the time, a UJIA spokesperson said: “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."

Reform Judaism said it would “set up an independent review of our processes and wider issues raised” in relation to how it handled Ms Morris-Evans' case.

“We recognise that when our young people act out of a love for Israel, and the priority of Tikkun Olam, as Nina did in this case, we must accept responsibility for the way we educate young people as a movement,” the board said.

“The lessons we have taken from this difficult time will affect how we educate going forwards. Nina Morris-Evans remains a highly valued member of Reform Judaism, hugely respected by her peers and mentors and we very much hope that her future will be back within Reform Judaism.”

UJIA has been approached for comment on Reform Judaism's apology to Ms Morris-Evans.

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