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Warm welcome for equal marriage vote

6 February 2013

Liberal Judaism is delighted that ALL our members will soon have the right to get legally married by a rabbi in England or Wales, after an overwhelming vote in the House of Commons in favour of equal marriage.

Four hundred MPs voted for the historic bill, which will let same-sex couples marry in those religious institutions that choose to hold ceremonies.

It follows a long campaign by Liberal Judaism, and other progressive religions – including Quakers, Unitarians and now Reform Judaism - for full equality. During that time, Liberal Judaism produced (in 2005) the first liturgy for same-sex ceremonies and held meetings with senior politicians and public figures.

Meanwhile in Scotland, a second public consultation is underway to explore the details of legalising equal marriage, after an initial consultation in 2011 resulted in a resolution to introduce such a bill in principle. Liberal Judaism’s members and friends across the UK are invited to take part by visiting: http://www.equalmarriage.org.uk/consultation. Liberal Judaism will be involved in giving evidence to the Scottish review later this year, and is writing to all MPs to put forward our case for allowing us, and other religions who choose to do so, to be allowed to officiate at legal religious weddings for all couples.

Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich said: “This is primarily a matter of justice. Liberal Judiasm values marriage and is delighted the proposal will offer marriage to more people who want it."

All three leaders of the major British political parties supported the bill, which is now expected to pass through the House of Lords and become law.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Strong views exist on both sides but I believe MPs voting for gay people being able to marry too, is a step forward for our country."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg added: “I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain. No matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal. Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should no longer be denied to people just because they are gay."

Leader of The Opposition Ed Miliband also gave strong backing to the bill, saying: "This is a proud day and an important step forward in the fight for equality in Britain.”

 
Shul partners educating the young generation

February 4 2013
The JC

A joint initiative by the Kingston Orthodox and Liberal synagogues to provide a Holocaust Memorial Day education programme for local students is now attracting over 1,000 participants.

On the launch day of the scheme’s seventh year, French-born survivor Marcel Ladenheim discussed his experiences with year-10 students from Coombe Boys’ School at Kingston Synagogue.

Now Surbiton-based, Mr Ladenheim recalled that much of his childhood had been spent in hiding under the care of two non-Jewish women — his mother was mentally ill.

He also recounted the trauma of leaving France after the war when his aunt took him to Manchester. “The reason I speak to you today is because I’d like to remember the children who were murdered,” he explained. “And for my mother, who never recovered from her experiences, and the two ladies who didn’t have to take in a Jewish boy, but did.”

Sean Dickson, 14, said Mr Ladenheim’s talk had moved him greatly. “From listening to his story, it is quite upsetting to know how many people were actually affected. How many rooms full of people died? It’s hard to imagine.”  Read more

 
WJR and Tzedek sign up to hunger campaign

January 24 2013
The JC

The Board of Deputies’ decision to tie in with Oxfam’s food project Grow/Tatzmiach was mirrored by another demonstration of Jewish social action this week.

World Jewish Relief, Tzedek and Gefiltefest have signed up to the campaign Enough Food For Everyone IF, a national coalition calling upon David Cameron to use his presidency of the G8 to address the causes of world hunger.

Henry Grunwald, president of World Jewish Relief, said: “We feel that this is something WJR must be involved in. WJR not only looks inwards to the Jewish community but also outwards to the wider community. We can’t close our eyes to that fact that one in eight people go hungry because of a food system that is broken but can be fixed.

“Faith groups have a particular role to play in delivering development in the UK and abroad. This particular campaign has 80 NGOs signed up to it and we have been working closely with Jewish NGOs to make sure that the Jewish community is involved. We believe that Jewish organisations must take part in social action.”

Jude Williams, chief executive of Tzedek, added: “We believe there is a Jewish obligation to get involved in this. As Jews we need to be involved in the Jewish community and support Israel, but there is also another level where we need to be involved in world issues, in the issues of extreme poverty. This international problem does require a national response, the British people are saying to David Cameron we want this, so make it happen. That is why, for us, this campaign is a great moment.”

The Jewish Social Action Forum (JSAF), the umbrella group for the United Synagogue, the Reform Movement, Liberal Judaism, Masorti Judaism, Rene Cassin, Jewish Council for Social Equality, GIFT, Mitzvah Day, Jewish Volunteering Network, the Union of Jewish Students and JW3, has also signed up to the campaign.  Read more

 
Shabbaton to be held in town in March

4 February 2013
Eastbourne Herald

A day of Jewish learning, services and workshops is due to take place in Eastbourne at the beginning of March.

The Liberal Judaism’s Regional Shabbaton will take place at the Kings Centre in Edison Road on March 2.

 Eastbourne Progressive Jewish Congregation is delighted the even will be held in the town this year and members are hoping as many Jews as possible will attend.

Justin Etkin, one of the members of the Eastbourne group, said, “We were delighted when Liberal Judaism chose us to host this year’s Regional Shabbaton, here in our Seaside town of Eastbourne rather then one of the major cities.”

Tickets cost £20 for adults and £10 for children.

Tickets must be bought before February 17 by calling Alex Wakely on 02075801663 or emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
Gay marriage: MPs set to vote on proposals for the first tim

24 January 2013
www.bbc.co.uk

MPs are set to get their first chance to vote on plans to allow same-sex marriages in England and Wales.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will be debated in Parliament on Tuesday 5 February, the leader of the Commons Andrew Lansley has announced.

The bill will allow same-sex marriage and let religious organisations which want to, to offer them, the culture department says.

The plans have divided the Conservative Party - its MPs will get a free vote.

Labour and the Lib Dems back the proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, but Labour said the exemption for the established Church was "disappointing".

The Church of England and Roman Catholics, among other denominations, have voiced opposition to the plans and are expected to oppose the bill, even with its caveats.

But some religious groups, including Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Judaism, are in favour.  Read more

 
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