> The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom
The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom



This article appeared on the Movement for Reform Judaism web site on 23 February 2012

Rabbi Jackie Tabick is to be the next Convenor of Reform Judaism's Beit Din (religious court), the Movement has announced today. Rabbi Tabick will take up the position in April while continuing to serve part-time as Rabbi of her North West Surrey Synagogue congregation.

The appointment comes as the Movement for Reform Judaism announces an upsurge in applications for conversions (which are dealt with by the Beit Din). Already over seventy candidates - each of whom will have undertaken a strict course of study - are booked to appear before the court in the first six months of 2012. Even at a conservative estimate this suggests an increase of over a quarter on last year's 106 conversions, itself a record in recent times.

Rabbi Tabick became Britain's first female rabbi in 1975 and worked at West London Synagogue prior to moving to North West Surrey Synagogue in Weybridge, which she has served since 1998. She chairs the World Congress of Faiths, (for which she was presented with the Interfaith Gold Medallion), and is an executive of the Interfaith Network. She has been a regular Beit Din member and has convened the court in the past. Her academic interests include the on-going religious lives of proselytes, on which she has written a thesis.

Rabbi Tabick's appointment underlines the Movement's commitment to supporting those in mixed-faith relationships. She says: "I feel privileged to lead this part of the Movement's work in such an important and growing area. With an estimated half of all Jews now marrying non-Jews, it is vital that we reach out to mixed-faith couples and a significant part of my work will be spent offering them support, regardless of whether the non-Jewish partner intends to convert.

"The Movement for Reform Judaism is uniquely well-placed for this work. We offer a brand of Judaism which is open and inclusive whilst providing a form of worship rooted in tradition which will remain familiar and accessible to all."

Coinciding with the Jewish Leadership Council's consultation on the under-representation of women in leadership positions across the community, Rabbi Tabick is set to join a Reform leadership team which includes women as Chair, Movement Rabbi and Principal of the Movement's rabbinic college, the Leo Baeck.

Ben Rich, MRJ Chief Executive says: "It speaks volumes for the state of the Movement that such a widely respected and senior rabbi has been willing to join the team. She will bring a wealth of experience and a great deal of sensitivity to the role, even if it does leave me as the 'last man standing'."

Ann Antrich, Joint Chairman of North West Surrey Synagogue says: "Rabbi Tabick's appointment to such a senior position is a matter of great pride for us. It is testament to her hard work and significant contribution to British Jewry and interfaith dialogue. Not only does she lead our community in the educational and spiritual side of Jewish life, she also plays an important role in pastoral care, experience which I'm sure will be important for her work with the Beit Din".


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