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Collaborating for a reflective Yom Ha’Atzmaut

Rabbi Cantor Gershon Sillins, Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, Rabbi Rebecca Birk, Rabbi Danny Rich and Louise Katin
Rabbi Gershon Sillins, Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, Rabbi Rebecca Birk, Rabbi Danny Rich and Louise Katin

Four Progressive communities came together at Sha’arei Tsedek North London Reform Synagogue for a reflective and moving Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut service.

Southgate Progressive Synagogue, Finchley Progressive Synagogue and The Liberal Synagogue Elstree joined with Sha’arei Tsedek for the collaborative event to mark both Israel’s Day of Remembrance and Day of Independence.

Sha’arei Tsedek’s Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu said “This is a time like no other in Israel’s history. For Jews in the UK there are no simple answers and no easy reactions. This is a not a time for falafel and dancing. It is a time for reflection, for building a depth of understanding and support in our own community and for looking to the future.

“Reform and Liberal synagogues come into their own especially at times like this, times when there are no simple solutions, when there are a range of responses and opinions. We are desperately committed to Israel, as well as to stability and prosperity in the entire region. May we see better times soon.”

During the evening, Rabbi Shulamit shared testimony heard from ordinary Israelis during the recent visit to Israel by a group of Progressive Rabbis.

New choral piece were arranged by Louise Katin, who directs the Sha’arei Tsedek choir,  as a time like this requires music that has never been sung before. The event also included some well-known melodies, written in Israel during previous wars.

Rabbi Gershon Silins, of The Liberal Synagogue Elstree, said: “As meaningful as it is to mark Israel’s Independence Day, and the day of memory and mourning that is inseparable from it, it is especially profound when we observe these solemn yet joyful days in community with other synagogues and their rabbis and leaders.”

Finchley Progressive Synagogue’s Rabbi Rebecca Birk added: “We are grateful this year to share these memorial moments with other synagogues. The power of connection and collaboration is strengthening and powerful right now for us as Progressive Jews.”

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