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‘Historic’ Passover service unites Progressive communities

The final day of Pesach at Southgate Progressive Synagogue (SPS) brought together three Progressive communities for a service that the synagogue’s Chair has described as “a historic occasion”.

SPS, Finchley Progressive Synagogue and Shar’arei Tsedek North London Reform Synagogue united for the service led by their respective clergy – Rabbi Danny Rich, Rabbi Rebecca Birk and Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu – and accompanied by musicians from the congregations. Guests included members of all three communities and FPS Emeritus Rabbi Frank Helner.

SPS Chair Mark Shaw said: “I am still buzzing from this historic occasion, which I believe that this is the first time any of our respective communities have done this.

“The proposed unification of Liberal Judaism and the Movement for Reform Judaism – into one Progressive Judaism for the UK – has given us all the impetus to seek collaboration with our closest Synagogue neighbours and we hope this will continue. Further collaborative events are in the pipeline.”

The three synagogues combined have close to 2,000 members, many of who attended the service in person or watched online.

Rabbi Shulamit said: “I think that the rabbis, leaders and members of our three communities really experienced a deeper level of connection and interest.

“The small differences between Reform and Liberal traditions are actually very interesting and it was fascinating to be able to learn from each other.”

Rabbi Rebecca added: “Inspired by the ongoing co-creation of one national movement, it was very powerful and moving for our three communities to come together and collaborate on the last day of Pesach, as we move to this new stage of Progressive Judaism in the UK.

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