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2013 in review

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2013 was another busy and exciting year for the Movement for Reform Judaism.

2013 in review'Haggadateinu' was launched – the first ever UK Reform haggadah for the whole Movement embodying our core values. The L’Chaim adult education programme got underway, helping people define and raise confidence in their Reform Judaism: "Completely engaging and inspiring" said one participant.

The second MRJ Music Conference took place in the summer - an energetic, inspiring experience to enrich the musical and spiritual life of our communities.

Robert Weiner of Alyth was elected as MRJ Chair and Gary Copitch as Vice-Chair. Tribute was paid to outgoing Chair Jenny Pizer, noting her outstanding contribution over nine years both as Chair and as a Board member.

‘Hubs’ have been launched in the North – serving the eastern and western regions they allow communities to work collaboratively, pooling resources and sharing knowledge. The Northern Communities Weekend was a great success. “Such a special weekend”, said one participant, “I feel nourished and re-invigorated”.

Some familiar faces have taken up new roles in MRJ. Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers has joined us as our Community Educator, helping ensure Reform values are cascaded to all ages throughout the Movement’s communities. And Charlotte Fischer, a former RSY-Netzer madricha (leader) became the first London Citizens Jewish community worker promoting grassroots activism within MRJ and fostering alliances between faith communities and other groups.

230 young people had an amazing and formative experience on Israel Tour. With six tours it was our biggest in over a decade, and together with RSY-Netzer Shemesh summer camps and day camp made sure it was a summer to remember for almost 1000 young people, laying firm foundations for the future of our Movement. RSY-Netzer’s Mega-chalutz leadership seminar was described by one participant as "the best RSY-Netzer event I’ve ever been on and possibly the best Jewish experience of my life".

Last year’s RSY-Netzer Shnat Israel gap year had 15 participants. Our student project, Jeneration, has attracted large numbers to a wide variety of events on campuses across the country and its free High Holy Day pass scheme has made Reform services accessible to almost 200 young adults.

Rosh Hashanah saw the launch of a new Progressive Judaism page in the Jewish News featuring weekly opinion and learning from Reform rabbis, educators and lay people. 2013 was also a year of increased media coverage and appearances from Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and many other of our rabbis, ensuring our values are heard nationally and internationally.

Our rabbis and educators flew the Reform flag at the annual Limmud conference in December; teaching, debating and exploring our Judaism, with others right across our community. Reform rabbis as well as lay and professional representatives also attended the World Union for Progressive Judaism conference in Jerusalem and the URJ Biennial in San Diego.

And there's so much to look forward to in 2014: The I'm Jewish, My Partner Isn't seminar, residential weekends for young adults and people considering, currently undergoing or having recently completed conversion, Chagiagh; our biennial celebration of Reform Judaism and much, much more.

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