Yom Sheini, 18 Av 5779
Monday, 19 August 2019
Liberal Jews seek God beyond gender

The Independent

27 October 2015

Rabbis Harry Jacobi, Margaret Jacobi and Richard Jacobi

We welcome the call by the Rt Rev Rachel Treweek to avoid male language in talking about God (“God is not male”, 26 October) and also your editorial on the same subject.

Liberal Judaism has recognised the importance of the language we use about God and been at the forefront of change for more than 20 years. Our prayer book Siddur Lev Chadash, published in 1995, was the first in Europe to use gender-neutral language about God, using “the Eternal One” instead of “Lord” and “Sovereign” instead of “King”. We also avoid gender language in talking about human beings, referring to humankind not mankind.

Since Hebrew is either masculine of feminine, in our prayer book of 2003, we balanced masculine with feminine, addressing God as “Divine Presence, Source of our Lives”. We are continually engaged in how to address God, who is beyond words and so neither masculine nor feminine but encompassing both.

See the online version of the letter here - the eighth letter on the page