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Unity in the community

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2008-09-15



Three non-orthodox Jewish groups have thrown down the gauntlet to the orthodox community by releasing a joint statement that states a desire for all Jewish groups to show respect for each other.

The Movement for Reform Judaism, Assembly of Masorti Synagogues and Liberal Judaism say the "Statement of Community Collaboration" is about cross-communal working and respect for each others' traditions and that they welcome other groups to join with them.

Between them, the group's claim to represent around a third of all UK Jews.

"With a falling Jewish population, Judaism in this country needs to be inclusive and collaborative to survive into the 21st Century," said Stephen Moss, chair of the Movement for Reform Judaism. "We believe that this type of pluralist approach serves the best interests of the whole community and we have a responsibility to provide the leadership to promote it."

According to the three groups, they want to see better relations between all, while respecting their differences.

"Our three movements have substantive differences of belief and practices and in no way do we seek to diminish them," said Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism. "As a people our responsibility is to accentuate what we share in common and find areas in which we can work together, rather than to focus on what divides us to keep us apart."

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, senior Rabbi of the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues, added: "This pluralist approach is one with which I believe many people across the community will be able to identify.  It is in no way intended to be exclusive to the three signatories and I, for one, am hopeful that others will choose to share our vision for the community and endorse it."

Calls to the United Synagogue and the Federation movement for comment were not returned.