Yom Shlishi, 16 Iyyar 5779
Tuesday, 21 May 2019
Rabbi Danny Rich - Articles and Media PDF Print E-mail

Articles and media appearances by Rabbi Danny Rich can be found on this page. ·To see further coverage of Liberal Judaism and Liberal Jews in the news, please visit the News section.

 

Citizens UK’s Day for Civil Society
Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, 2nd May 2011

Friends, members of many faith communities, followers of no religious tradition:

What an inspiring event hosted by Citizens UK which has brought together adherents of many faiths including Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Bhuddists together with agnostics, aethists and others, and reminded us all that whatever divides us, it is that which unites us which is of greater importance.

And what unites us is our desire to see a fairer, more equitable society in this life and in this country, and those of us who have been studying religious texts have been reminded that the Godly and human demand for a fairer society is at the very essence of our scriptural traditions whether we find it in the Hebrew Tanach, the Christian Bible or the Muslim Qur’an.

Judaism not only demands of individual Israelites in the Book of Leviticus –in the very portion read last Shabbat in all synagogues- that You shall be holy (19:2) but earlier in the Book of Exodus (19:6) that Israel as a whole is exhorted You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

And what applies to Israelis to be applied to every people, every society and humanity as a whole. In other words the moral quality of a society is dependent both on the private and collective behaviour of individuals and on the public and political policies of government and institutions.

The demand for a Living Wage and the campaign against usury, the levelling of excessive interest, are practical methods to create a society where every individual is valued and secure and where the divergence between the poorest and the richest are not such that any feel excluded.

It is the skill of Citizens UK to capture the oldest of religious values and bring them to bear in the most modern of institutions, and I endorse its –our- work.

Society –and a decent society- is ultimately not created by research papers, government initiatives or by others- it is forged by each one of us acting in accord with the sentiment expressed in the ancient Jewish midrash that ‘Only one human being was created in the beginning…so that no person may be able to say, “My ancestor was greater than your ancestor.”’

 

Debate Over Jewish Guidelines for Organ Donation Crosses the Atlantic
The Jewish Daily Forward, 4th February 2011

In Britain, the United Synagogue, via the London Beth Din and the Office of the Chief Rabbi, speaks with the loudest voice on Jewish matters. But it is not the only voice within the community. The subject of death and organ donation is one of those controversies that has brought out the deep differences within the various branches of the Jewish community here.

“It seems to me a tragedy that while men, women, and particularly children are dying for the lack of a suitable organ, some rabbis should be quibbling over when death occurs,” wrote Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of the organization Liberal Judaism, Britain’s equivalent of America’s Reform Judaism movement, in an e-mail to the Forward. Rich added: “I trust medical opinion and believe in the saving of as many lives as possible, whether Jewish or not. If it is a technical debate about whether death occurs when the circulatory system ceases or where there is no brain stem activity, many traditional authorities do take the more liberal view, and it is high time the London Beth Din followed suit.”

Read more


 

Give terminally-ill right to die, says rabbi.
The Jewish Chronicle, 27th January 2011

People with terminal illnesses should be helped to die if they do not want to go on living, according to the chief executive of Liberal Judaism. Rabbi Danny Rich made the case when he gave evidence last week to the independent Commission on Assisted Dying, chaired by the former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer.

Rabbi Rich said: "It is morally defensible for an individual of sound mind to declare that the quality of his or her life is no longer worth the struggle. And that such a person may expect those who care - either personally or professionally - for him or her to assist in the process, and, subject to appropriate safeguards, those who assist should not face criminal prosecution.  Read more


 

Liberal Chief hits out at religious 'anti-democracy'
The Jewish Chronicle, 6th May 2010

Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich condemned religious coercion and sectarianism in his address to the movement's biggest biennial conference, held in Gloucestershire.·Addressing an audience of over 300, he said that some religious followers have "declared in both word - and frequently more tragically in deed - that democracy is in opposition to the values and practices of religious faith."

He also hit out at what he called the "special pleaders", citing as examples requests by Jewish schools for exemption from the Race Relations Act and the wish of Catholic adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples.·"Liberal Judaism - conscious of its wider social responsibility - has much to offer a multicultural society," Rabbi Rich added. Read more