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November 2012

Letter To Ambassador Taub

Following the reports of the shocking treatment of Anat Hoffman in October 2012, I wrote the letter below to Ambassador Taub on 18 October to express my deep concern and to seek a meeting with him and members of the community who wished to discuss the situation with him.

Sadly, to date, Ambassador Taub has failed to respond to me - a very disappointing situation which seems to mirror the attitude towards Anat Hoffman.

Below, is the letter as delivered to Ambassador Taub on 18 October 2012 :

Dear Ambassador Taub,

East London Three Faiths Forum


I was invited to speak on "Women In Our Scriptures" at the East London Three Faiths Forum on the evening of 29 November 2012. I joined Khola Hasan, a well known Islamic scholar and speaker plus Nicola Vidamour, the minister of East Ham Methodist Church.

The subject was how women are portrayed in the sacred texts of the three Abrahamic faiths - i.e. the Quran, the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. The presentations were informative and quite fascinating. For instance, the slightly different stories that relate to Mary/Maryam that are found in the New Testament and the Quran. The questioners also addressed the topical issue of how in today's world women are regarded by each of the three faith communities as spiritual leaders, teachers and role models.

Reform Movement 2012 Video

The Movement For Reform Judaism has released their 2012 video which help explain the Reform movement in the UK and showcases examples of our progressive Jewish worship, social action and community life.

Quite a few sections were filmed at my own synagogue, South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue. I hope you enjoy the video !



Rabbi Nancy Morris

Jacob Dared To Dream

PARASHAT VAYEITZE 5773

So there I was, standing in a very long queue waiting to enter Sadler's Wells to attend this past week's performance of the Batsheva ensemble dance company. The queue was a result of the enhanced security needed for this particular performance of an Israeli dance troupe coming in the wake of renewed conflict between Israel and Gaza. It always seems to bring out any and every anti-Israeli protest group. In this case, I believe I saw a good variety of signs accusing Israel of all manner of human rights abuse, genocide, ethnic cleansing. Just for good measure, I think I even saw a token one accusing it of women's rights abuses. It seems that now that a good momentum is established, and any type of accusation is acceptable, it also becomes routine and therefore acceptable to say just about anything heinous and untrue about the state of Israel without fear of the repercussions of any one calling you on the gross distortion, inaccuracy and outright lie of the accusation that you are making. Among those I read just this past week are that “.....approximately 750,000 non-Jews.... were ethnically cleansed in 1947-9 in order to ensure a Jewish majority in the new Jewish state.” That, “This group is dispersed around the world, mostly in refugee camps in the territories occupied in 1967 and the neighbouring states. Israel has persistently denied them their internationally recognized legal right to return.” By the way, this supposedly “true” statement was made by an Israeli teaching law in the U.K., as if by having those credentials it makes the unfounded claims he is making more legitimate. As we all know, terms like “ethnic cleansing” are highly evocative, and now, it seems, completely accepted when it comes to speaking about Israeli relations with Palestinians. Any one without a background in law will probably not have the tools to understand that there is no “internationally recognized legal right to return” in the case he is speaking about. In fact, most people do not understand the legal notion and definition of a right to return at all. But if it is claimed by a law professor, particularly one who claims to be Israeli, then I suppose it magically becomes a true statement.

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