Q: As we prepare for 5775, why should our community feel positive about the coming year?
Alex Fenton says..
This outgoing year has been tough.
At times, it was difficult to be positive, and to remember the joys that our community can bring us. In the coming year, we should remember that we have so much to be positive about just by being Jewish and being proud of it.
We can be positive because we will welcome in plenty of restful Shabbats. And we can be positive as we mark all our festivals, both sombre and joyful, from the celebration of Simchat Torah through to cheesecake-filled Shavuot.
In 5775, we will indulge in the sweetness of the apple and the honey, the beauty of the chanukiah, and the symbolism of the seder plate.
We can feel positive for the coming year because it marks the start of another dynamic and exciting calendar of Jewish moments. If recent times have been testing, we mustn’t forget the most basic things that make our community so special. And if the question is “what do we have to be positive about in the year ahead?,” the answer must surely be “everything”.
• Alex Fenton is public affairs advisor to Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, who is the Senior Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism
Adam Overlander-Kaye says…
As a community, we really have never had it so good.
Communal tensions and responding to the threats directed at some parts of our community should not disguise what a remarkable time it is to be Jewish in this country.
This coming year, our youth movements and student organisations will once again lead the way in providing fun and meaningful Jewish experiences for thousands.
Our synagogues are filled with adult education and social justice programmes. Across the political spectrum, we can participate in a plethora of activities to engage with Israel.
Our religious leadership is more visible, more present and more diverse than ever before. And it’s not just in London.
In Manchester, we can find the South Manchester Arts Festival and Shema, the new adult education programme; the Davar programme of events in Bristol and the Jewish Entertainment Festival in Leeds to name just a few.
Our schools will provide outstanding Jewish education and enable the next generation to become engaged citizens of the world. Programmes run through or at JHub, Limmud, the Redbridge JCC, Leo Baeck College and JW3 (and more) mean that we should be hugely positive and proud of the diversity on offer. L’chaim and shana tova!
• Adam Overlander-Kaye is director of development at the Movement for Reform Judaism