An MP who converted to Judaism last year has told a Reform audience about his experience, at the movement’s annual dinner on Sunday.
Andrew Percy, a Conservative who was born in Hull, recalled his experience of Shabbat dinner debates since converting in March 2017, in conversation with Liverpool Wavertree’s Labour MP Luciana Berger.
The parliamentarians interviewed each other in front of over 200 guests at central London’s Grand Connaught Rooms, and found that although they disagreed over Brexit, they have both had positive experiences in progressive Judaism.
Berger said one of her fondest memories was winning a KitKat as a child in a competition to memorise the Amidah at Middlesex New Synagogue, now Mosaic Reform, and of the formative role played by youth movement RSY-Netzer.
Percy, a strong Israel advocate who represents Brigg and Goole, spoke of the warm and welcoming attitude he experienced on converting and the crucial role played by those Hull Reform Synagogue members who have also chosen to become Jewish.
The audience also heard from Zach Klement, 19, from North West Surrey Synagogue, who has autism, and who recently led camp with RSY-Netzer.
The annual dinner was held just days before a major survey in Israel found that 12-13 percent of Israelis now identify as Conservative or Reform, up from seven percent just five years ago.
The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) report showed that the movements have 125 communities throughout Israel – 56 with permanent synagogues – and 280 rabbis, with up to ten new rabbis ordained every year.