Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Reform rabbi: Jews should think of Palestine during Seder

    The head of BBC's religion and ethics asked whether Jews think of Palestinian suffering at Pesach during a demonstration Seder last week.

    Aaqil Ahmed was among a select group of journalists who attended the event organised by the Reform movement.

    According to The Tablet, the Catholic magazine, guests were discussing "plagues of the modern world" when Mr Ahmed asked: "Not speaking personally, but journalistically, I would ask, do people remember the plight of those people today who suffer oppression at the hands of the Israelis?"

    Reform movement head Rabbi Tony Bayfield was quoted as replying: "Many people don't do enough to adapt the Seder meal to remember the Palestinians. Israel has got itself into an ethnically unjustifiable situation. But the implication that it's all Israel's fault is not something that I share."

    Rabbi Bayfield told the JC that he had been "glad" that Mr Ahmed felt secure enough to ask the question. "It didn't raise any hackles," he said.

    "No one could possibly deny the reality of the conditions in which many Palestinians are living and the need for it to end. Of course, there is a fundamental difference in that whereas the Egyptians were responsible [for the slavery of the Israelites], who is to blame [in the Middle East] is far less one-sided and clear."

    Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, of London's North-Western Reform Synagogue, who was one of the participating rabbis, said that Mr Ahmed's question was "totally valid. We had been talking about Jewish organisations who send out information sheets to add to the Seder, such as JCore [the Jewish Council for Raciqal Equality] and as the Soviet Jewry campaign used to.

    "It was a stimulating question about whether we bring Israel issues to the Seder."

    Rabbi Goldsmith said it was "wonderful" that the journalists had devoted three hours to try to understand a Seder. "Most knew about it but had never been to one before," he said.

    A BBC spokesman said: "Aaqil's remark was made at a mock Seder meal for journalists hosted by Rabbi Tony Bayfield and was in the context of a general discussion comparing themes from the Seder story with modern-day issues. No offence was intended or taken by those involved in the discussion, in fact Aaqil and Rabbi Tony Bayfield have since exchanged letters of thanks."

Uk News

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'

Marcus Dysch

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'
Special Reports

Dublin benefits from overseas aid

Barry Toberman

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dublin benefits from overseas aid
Uk News

Luciana Berger troll driven by 'fierce antisemitism'

JC Reporter

Monday, December 5, 2016

Luciana Berger troll driven by 'fierce antisemitism'
Uk News

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees
Uk News

Limmud: Food for thought at session on 'ethical eating'

By Simon Rocker

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Limmud: Food for thought at session on 'ethical eating'
Uk News

Local MP blocks visit from David Irving's 'secret tour'

Rosa Doherty

Friday, December 2, 2016

Local MP blocks visit from David Irving's 'secret tour'
Uk News

Anti-Israel conference faces delay

Lee Harpin

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Anti-Israel conference faces delay
Uk News

Commission criticised over inquiry into 'antisemitic' charity

Daniel Sugarman

Monday, December 5, 2016

Commission criticised over inquiry into 'antisemitic' charity
Uk News

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs dies aged 86

JC Reporter

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs dies aged 86