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Community Development Fund awards first grants

Four communities of the Movement for Reform Judaism have been recognised for their innovative planning ideas.

Reform Judaism’s Community Development Fund has awarded grants to Manchester Reform Synagogue, Menorah Synagogue (Cheshire Reform Congregation), Southport Reform Synagogue and Sukkat Shalom Reform Synagogue in Wanstead. The Northern Network of Reform synagogues has also been recognised for its online and local study programmes for northern communities.

This is the first time that awards have been made by the fund launched earlier this year to promote innovative and exciting new ideas to support the development of Reform communities. As well as positively impacting their own synagogue, successful initiatives should be able to be shared and adapted across the wider Reform community.

Manchester Reform has plans for a Reform Judaism Leadership Institute for all the northern communities offering training and support to lay leaders, which they can use in their home congregations to lead services and workshops.

Menorah’s project partners with the RSY-Netzer youth movement to launch residential weekends in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool for young people from across the north. The project aims to engage in particular with youth from smaller and more isolated communities.

Southport’s initiative will see the creation of the Small Communities Organisational Outreach Programme – SCOOP . Aimed at communities without a rabbi, the programme will bring people with service leading and musical skills to smaller communities to enhance their religious services.

Sukkat Shalom’s project will focus on the role of young adults in synagogue life, engaging with younger members of the community and focussing on what they can offer – and what they would appreciate receiving from the synagogue.

Robert Weiner, Reform Judaism Chair said: “I am delighted that Reform Judaism will be supporting these fantastic projects from our synagogues. We are committed to celebrating the achievements of our communities, sharing innovative ideas and best practice. Congratulations to them all for their hard work and dedication. I would also like to thank the Community Development Fund panel for their considered and detailed evaluation of the proposals, leading to the awarding of £24,000. We look forward to making further awards again next year, continuing to develop Reform Judaism”.

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