Laura Janner-Klausner has been a transformative leader of Reform Judaism. Her nine-year tenure as the movement’s Senior Rabbi, which will come to an end in October, has been marked by achievement after achievement.
Rabbi Laura, or LJK, as she is affectionately known, has been a powerful campaigner on same sex marriage, LGBT rights and a strident defender of young people. She has made giant strides in cross-communal and interfaith work, establishing Real Conversations, a programme encouraging difficult conversations with Muslims and Jews.
She petitioned for Muslim Uyghurs in Parliament earlier this year, was
keynote speaker for the 2019 Genesis Prize on antisemitism and represents progressive Jews at the Cenotaph each November. During the current pandemic, Rabbi Laura has demonstrated the strength to take difficult decisions in consultation with the Assembly of Reform Rabbis and Cantors and contributed to the national response.
She’s also been a loud and proud advocate for the rights of refugees (perhaps taking the cause a little too literally when she gave Jewish News’ foreign editor a roof over his head for a month while he was house hunting in London).
As Rabbi Laura prepares to start a PhD in digital theology at Durham University at the beginning of the next academic year, colleagues this week reflected on “the recognition Reform Judaism has earned under her for what it stands for, its vitality and importance”.
As Reform Judaism’s chair Geoffrey Marx puts it: “We are now acknowledged major players in debates of national importance, standing up for our values on issues that matter. Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner has made Britain better.”