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Shanah tovah from Ben Rich

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Written by Movement for Reform Judaism Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Perhaps foolishly, in January this year, I declared my ‘New Year Resolutions’.  The risk of marking the secular New Year in this way is that alcohol-fuelled bravado clouds one’s judgment.  Maybe that’s why we Jews save our resolutions for the Days of Awe and seal them with a fast. Instead, maybe now is the right moment to take stock and seize the opportunity to repent any sins and committed ourselves afresh to the challenge.

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Our Strategic Priorities: developing communities – promoting values

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Written by Ben Rich Monday, 25 June 2012

This presentation of our Strategic Priorities was given at Chagigah 2012.

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Supporting Israel effectively from the Diaspora

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Written by Ben Rich Friday, 01 June 2012

Over the past fortnight there has been some discussion of the Movement’s criticism of JNF for hosting a meeting for Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

A handful of those who have spoken out against us (and the other organisations who protested against the meeting) clearly support Mr Lieberman’s positions, such as loyalty oaths for Israeli Arab citizens, segregation of Israeli Arabs and the expansion of settlements.

This, however, is surely a minority viewpoint: the vast majority of British Jewry shares our distaste for Lieberman’s policies but feels a need to self-censor any criticism it might wish to make. I respect that position but disagree: we not only have a moral obligation to speak out, it is also the best way for the Diaspora to support Israel. 

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So what’s MRJ’s strategy all about?

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Written by Ben Rich Wednesday, 02 May 2012

Three weeks ago the Movement published its draft strategic priorities.  They are:

  • Identifying and articulating Reform values
  • Developing communities
  • Investing in Leadership
  • Supporting youth and RSY-Netzer; and
  • Reaching out to students and young adults

 

Since then, members of the MRJ board and I have been making our way round communities and others who responded to the Strategic Review published last year, to take the temperature and understand how these priorities should be further developed. Personally, I have found the experience extremely encouraging. It seems that almost all our communities are taking the opportunity to debate these priorities and I am delighted that so many have shared their thoughts directly with the Board and myself.

So what are we hearing?

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MRJ New Year Resolutions

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Written by Ben Rich Monday, 09 January 2012

We Jews should generally save our New Year Resolutions for the Days of Awe, not append them as an after-thought to the inevitable hangover (literal or metaphoric) of the secular New Year. Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to take stock and may be time – seven months into my new job – to nail some colours to the mast.

So here are ten things you have the right to expect from the Movement for Reform Judaism in 2012, and which I pledge I will sustain beyond my January detox.

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