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Proud to be Reform

Looking back over the past 4 months and SWESRS’ compassionate, swift and accomplished response to the challenges of Covid-19, I am proud of our achievement as a Reform community. We have created a community online that has responded to the increased desire for connection in uncertain times, with twice and three times as many people joining us for Shabbat services, recently celebrating our first Zoom Bar Mitzvah and Baby Blessing, many special birthdays and Wedding anniversaries, as well as continuing to offer those in mourning or commemorating the Yahrzeit of a loved one the opportunity for a joint Aliyah in the Torah service. We have enjoyed increased engagement with our families and Bnei Mitzvah students. We have re-envisioned Tuesday Lunch Club, which is now a successful online Tuesday@Two, providing friendship and support to our more senior members. The Social and Community Group has held a diverse range of entertaining and stimulating events. Our new Care Co-ordinator Claire Hartley has hit the ground running and is already making a big impact in strengthening the way we care for and support each other as a community. We would never have chosen to be in this situation. But now that we’re here, we have grasped the opportunity to respond creatively, imaginatively and skilfully to the needs of the moment.

Reform Judaism has been a tremendous help throughout this time of crisis, providing inspiring leadership and support to us and to Reform communities across the country.

Last week we learned that Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner will be leaving her position as Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism to study for a PhD in Digital Theology at Durham University, after almost 9 years in the role. Rabbi Laura has been a good friend to the SWESRS community, (we appreciated her joining us for Rosh HaShanah 5777) and a wonderful colleague and mentor to me personally and Rabbis across our movement. In the words of Reform Chairman Geoffrey Marx, Rabbi Laura has ‘transformed Reform Judaism’, which has become acknowledged as a major player ‘in debates of national importance, standing up for our values on issues that matter – refugees, antisemitism, LGBT+, progressive Zionism.’ We wish Rabbi Laura all success in her new endeavours, and know that she will continue to make her mark on the Progressive Jewish world.

Stay Safe and Be Well.

Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Lisa