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New Chair for Reform Rabbis

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At its Annual General Meeting earlier this month, the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK voted in a new Chair, Rabbi Tony Hammond.  Rabbi Hammond takes over from Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, and will serve a two year term of office.

Rabbi Tony HammondTony Hammond has served as rabbi at Bromley Reform Synagogue since 2004. Previously, he spent ten years as a lecturer and director at the Spiro Institute (which became the London Jewish Cultural Centre). Before training for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College, where he was ordained in 2004, Rabbi Hammond studied Renaissance French literature and taught literature in schools and universities both in France and the UK. He even had a brief interlude goat-keeping in France! Rabbi Hammond is married with three grown-up children.

He commented: “Over these two years, my aim is to lead the Assembly in continuing to engage with the needs and potentiality of the '21st Century Synagogue', in making the case for pluralism, in responding to, and containing the tension between, tradition and change and in developing contemporary Reform thinking and practice.”

He added: “We have a good number of projects set up which will have to be nurtured and developed, and I look forward to the Assembly continuing to be a forum for colleagues to exchange ideas and develop rabbinic practice through shared insights and learning.”

At the AGM of the Movement for Reform Judaism last week, Movement Chair Stephen Moss thanked Jonathan Romain who steps down as Assembly Chair. He said:

“Rabbi Jonathan Romain has done a sterling job in refocusing and revitalising the Assembly, achieving record membership and attendances at their meetings and rabbinic kallahs; setting up working groups to tackle key issues for the rabbinate and even launching into publishing with a highly regarded booklet challenging Richard Dawkins.”

Stephen Moss also took the opportunity to welcome Rabbi Hammond as the new Chair and as a member of the Reform Movement Board.

There are currently 76 members of the Reform Assembly, whose newly-elected Executive includes, in addition to the new Chair, Rabbis Paul Freedman, Mark Goldsmith, Sybil Sheridan, Deborah Kahn Harris and Nancy Morris, with Rabbis Rodney Mariner and Shoshana Boyd Gelfand as ex officio members.

For further details, please contact:
Andrea Newman, Public Relations

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