This is an extract from the sermon given by Rabbi Alexandra Wright, President of Liberal Judaism, at The Liberal Jewish Synagogue (LJS) on Rosh Hashanah morning 5784:
It has taken nearly 120 years to bring together Liberal Judaism and Reform Judaism in a step that surprised, but also uplifted, us just a few months ago.
During these past decades, many of us wondered why we needed two separate Progressive organisations and, from time to time, there were initiatives, both rabbinic and lay, to talk about uniting, to confederate, or even merge.
As I said at our meeting with the CEOs of our two movements, Rabbi Charley Baginsky and Rabbi Josh Levy, there once was a PhD thesis to write about the relationship between Liberal and Reform Judaism in matters of status, conversion, divorce, liturgy, theology and communal politics. Today, there is a hair’s breadth, if that, between us on these issues.
A new movement for Progressive Judaism, embracing both our movements and our synagogues, opens up huge spiritual and moral possibilities, giving us a larger platform for our voices to be heard on a host of different issues, including social justice, Israel, spirituality and many of the subjects I have touched on this morning.
We do not need to fear that the uniqueness of our own community will be compromised. Communities do not aspire to be uniform, but to carve out their own individuality – in prayer and music, in learning, social action and pastoral care.
This integration of our two movements into one, should give us great hope and optimism not only for Progressive Judaism in the future, but for our fragmented world.
May God grant you and all your dear ones a healthy and peaceful New Year. Amen.