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



This article was first published on the MRJ web-site on 21 December 2012

After a year of change in 2011, this year has been about values, focus and delivery.

2012 started with the arrival in January of Laura Janner-Klausner as Movement Rabbi, providing a public face for Reform Judaism in the UK, within and beyond the community. Since then, Laura has been a regular on BBC radio and television and has been quoted extensively in the national press, significantly raising the Movement's profile.

In March, the Movement piloted its first Haggadah in a dozen shuls and homes across the country. It was well received and is now being revised in time to go on sale for Pesach 5773.

In April and May, the Movement finalised its strategic plan, committing the Movement to focusing its time and limited resources on developing communities and promoting Reform values. The plan was unanimously approved at the Movement's Annual General Meeting in June during Chagigah. The Movement's hugely successful Biennial Conference, Chagigah, attracted over 250 delegates and saw the launch of L'Chaim, an adult education programme conceived and written by Rabbi Josh Levy and developed by Jonathan Bergwerk on behalf of the Movement - to help members explore and articulate their beliefs.

Just a few weeks later, the Reform Movement was able to celebrate the election of the first Reform member for a generation as Senior Vice-President of the Board of Deputies, Laura Marks. The rest of the summer was, as ever, dominated by Israel Tour and Shemesh summer camps. Numbers on the former continue to climb, with RSY-Netzer's 2012 tour group the largest for a decade. The youth movement is now firmly established as second largest provider of Israel summer programmes.

Overall Shemesh numbers were steady in the face of fierce Olympic competition, but Day Camp for 5-11 year olds -piloted in 2011 -produced 50% growth and introduced nearly seventy new youngsters in London and Manchester to RSY-Netzer.

In September, we were delighted to welcome six new rabbinic students to the Leo Baeck College, attracted no doubt by a reinvigorated curriculum supported by many new faculty members.

On the youth side, the summer's successes were followed up with 15 young adults departing for Israel on RSY-Netzer's pre-university Shnat gap year programme, while our student project, Jeneration, attracted dozens of young adults to a wide variety of new term events including - in October - a joint RSY-Netzer-LJY-Netzer 'on campus' weekend in Cambridge.

The autumn also saw the Movement push to achieve its £630k fundraising target for the year, with its annual dinner and special events for lawyers and those working in finance.

There is a strong level of support for the Movement's new strategic direction and this is reflected in generous donations, despite incredibly challenging economic circumstances.

In November the UK and European Batei Din welcomed their 200th convert for the year, equivalent to the creation of a whole new community.

And the year concludes as it began: with Rabbi Laura and others flying the Reform flag at the annual Limmud conference: teaching, debating and exploring our Judaism, with others right across our community.

Meanwhile, 2000 miles away, in Jerusalem, two female UK Reform Shnatees were detained for attempting to pray in tallitot at the Western Wall. We are proud of their values but, as 2012 draws to close, we note that the year ahead still contains many challenges for Reform Jews. But we at the MRJ and within our 42 member communities are more than ready to rise to that challenge.


Ne've Shalom
Great Gutter Lane
HU10 6DP



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