Reform Judaism has “sincerely apologised” for the “hurt caused” in the way it removed an Israel tour leader, after public anger over her participation in the ‘Kaddish for Gaza’ in May.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Board of the Movement for Reform Judaism apologised for the “enormous hurt” it caused after first agreeing to “mentor” Nina Morris-Evans ahead of its RSY-Netzer tour, before removing her after consulting partners including UJIA.
Morris-Evans, an Oxford undergraduate, later flew out to Israel to lead a tour for Liberal Judaism, with the blessing of Senior Liberal Rabbi Danny Rich, but the case’s handling had by then drawn an angry reaction from 110 fellow tour leaders, including 45 from RSY-Netzer.
In an open letter, they pledged to “reject the entrenchment of Israel’s occupation” and express concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, while accusing the Jewish community of “bullying” those it felt were “outside the boundaries”.
This week, Reform Judaism and RSY-Netzer said they were “pleased Nina is now working with LJY-Netzer Israel Tour… She has the qualities to excel in this role.”
They added: “We acknowledge that the process by which Nina Morris-Evans was removed from leading Israel Tour unintentionally led to enormous hurt, for which we sincerely apologise.
“Reform Judaism is committed to ensuring that our processes are fair and transparent. We will set up an independent review of our processes and wider issues raised.
“We recognise that when our young people act out of a love for Israel, and the priority of Tikkun Olam, as Nina did in this case, we must accept responsibility for the way we educate young people as a movement.
“The lessons we have taken from this difficult time will affect how we educate going forwards. Nina Morris-Evans remains a highly valued member of Reform Judaism, hugely respected by her peers and mentors and we very much hope that her future will be back within Reform Judaism.”
Nina Morris-Evans told Jewish News following the decision: “I welcome the apology issued today by Reform Judaism, and their offer to set up an independent review of the processes which led to my dismissal as an RSY Tour leader.
Anyone who has been as committed a member of a Zionist youth movement as me knows how important the experience of leading Israel tour is.
I am extremely grateful to LJY Israel Tour for allowing me to be part of their leadership team this summer. “
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