Continuing its partnership with Citizens UK, Reform Judaism offered a special course last weekend to enable current and future synagogue leaders to strengthen their communities. Led by Charlotte Fischer, Citizens UK’s Jewish Community Worker, ‘Congregational Development, Leadership and Tikkun Olam’ was attended by 30 people representing lay and professional leaders from eight Reform communities.
Held over two days, the seminar took place at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley and was aimed at those who want to develop vibrant and powerful communities by building relationships, whilst empowering members to become agents of innovation.
Engaging in social justice was another key focus of the weekend.
Participants also had dinner with leaders from other faith communities to hear about their experiences and how community organising has revitalised their congregations and made a real impact on the lives of people in the wider community.
Amit Handelsman, Reform Judaism’s Community Partner said: “This seminar reflects our commitment to providing and fostering inspiring leadership, developing and supporting our communities and members in every aspect of synagogue life. And it embodies one of our core values: bringing holiness into the world by seeking meaning in our lives and a just society for all.
“There was a very positive atmosphere with so many young adults and students together with other community leaders learning together and from each other, sharing experiences and committing to strengthen their own communities and Reform Judaism. Participants will now take what they learnt back to their communities, exploring new ways of engaging their members”
Barry Wise, Co-Chair of Radlett Reform Synagogue said: “It was great to finally get some clarity of thinking on how to take action on the concept of ‘relational Judaism’. I’m completely fired up and can’t wait for Charlotte to help us take this forward and start to make a real difference for the benefit of our community and the outside world.”
Reform communities represented at the seminar included Alyth (North Western Reform Synagogue), Bromley Reform Synagogue, Edgware and District Reform Synagogue, Finchley Reform Synagogue, Kol Chai Hatch End Jewish Community, Radlett Reform Synagogue, Sinai Synagogue in Leeds, Wimbledon and District Synagogue, West London Synagogue. There were even participants from the Bet Shalom, the Progressive Jewish Community of Barcelona. Members of youth movements RSY-Netzer and LJY-Netzer were also represented as well as rabbinic students from Leo Baeck College and participants from Reform Young Adults and Jeneration.