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Reform Judaism launches major new initiatives at Chagigah

Chagigah 2016 Almost 250 people attended Chagigah, a weekend celebrating Reform Judaism from 24-26 June at Eastwood Hall near Nottingham.

Chagigah saw the launch of three major initiatives as part of Reform Judaism’s commitment to strengthening communities and inspiring members.

Click here to see a selection of pictures from the weekend

These initiatives are designed to benefit all communities, regardless of their size and geography. Reform Judaism will partner communities after Chagigah to continue their implementation and development.

The three initiatives focus on re-imagining leadership, tackling adult social care and empowering Jewish spiritual practice.

In her Shabbat morning address, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said: “These initiatives and the plan for their future stewardship were crafted by rabbis, Reform Judaism professionals, community welfare, education and development professionals and our lay people in collaborative partnerships. This partnership reflects who we are and should be as a national movement”.

“We’re being resolutely ambitious, transforming the map of Reform Judaism. It doesn’t stop here. After Chagigah, we’ll continue to embed the initiatives in our communities. We’re completely committed to accompanying our communities and setting up support networks in the many varied ways they want to evolve and flourish”.

As well as sessions on the initiatives, Chagigah featured inspiring speakers and educators offering learning opportunities for all ages and levels.  There was also room for fun with quizzes, arts and crafts, music and dancing. A dedicated stream of sessions celebrated the 60th anniversary of Leo Baeck College, recognising the College’s position at the heart of British Reform Judaism’s engagement with Jewish texts and learning.

Gwyneth Lewis, Director of Education at Sinai Synagogue said: “This year the sense of community seemed more important than ever as the UK woke up to massive changes ahead. Chagigah provided space to breathe, reflect, forget troubles, to create and learn”.

Robert Braham, Chair of Kol Chai Hatch End Jewish Community said: “Chagigah was a great experience; well thought through with a programme focussed on community needs”.

Chagigah closed with an emotional and unifying musical ceremony as participants looked forward to continuing their journeys together to the next Chagigah in 2018.

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