Yom Shabbat, 23 Av 5779
Saturday, 24 August 2019
Liberal Judaism Chief Executive praised in Lords debate

Liberal Judaism and Rabbi Danny Rich have been praised in a debate in the House of Lords.

During a discussion on ‘Religion and Belief: British Public Life’, Lord Haskel (Labour) quoted Liberal Judaism’s Chief Executive.

With many members of the chamber taking part, the debate covered the wide range of roles religion plays in today’s society.

Lord Haskel said: “I support liberal values. Indeed, I belong to the Liberal Jewish community - so I spoke to Rabbi Danny Rich, the senior rabbi and Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism.

“He agreed that faith-based organisations ought to be involved in social and political action, in accordance with adherent interpretations of their faith.

“Sensibly, he told me that he hoped that disagreements between and within faiths would be handled in accordance with Britain’s democratic values.

“Rabbinic decision-making is traditionally based on the view of a majority, after reasoned debate - but with the minority view being recorded, which means that we do not impose our views on others. Indeed, we try to be a blessing on others, as the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, has said.

“Rabbi Danny Rich and I both felt that the current system of civil and criminal law in the UK is satisfactory in relation to issues of religion and belief. We would prefer that religious courts did not involve themselves in the civil law, and that religious communities did not seek to use the civil law to solve issues that their own religious authorities do not have the courage or the will to resolve.

“For example, Liberal Judaism accepts civil divorce, in the sense of not requiring people to undergo any further religious divorce procedure. In the same way it accepts same-sex marriage, because it is the law of the land - and that is the way it should be.”