19/20 May 2023, 29 Iyyar 5783

If people feel they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand,
so wrote Howard Schultz when he began Starbucks coffee.

This is an interesting moment for those of us who have identified with Liberal Judaism over these past 60 years and more, indeed for anyone who has been drawn to its values these past 120 years. The Biennial conference of 2023, the first togetherness for 4 years or so, is entitled Liberal Judaism Matters, intended as a clever pun the matters / business of Liberal Judaism but also to engage with the idea that Liberal Judaism does matter and will continue to matter. The progressive expression and experience that has underscored our bit of Jewish real estate is still relevant, meaningful and important.

All the values of our Liberal Judaism and the stories that have brought us here and enabled so many of us to integrate our secular lives and our Jewish sensibility will permeate what our hopes will build when our ideologies and movements come together to build what’s next. As the beginning of the Book of Numbers calls for…

שְׂא֗וּ אֶת־רֹאשׁ֙ כָּל־עֲדַ֣ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם לְבֵ֣ית אֲבֹתָ֑ם בְּמִסְפַּ֣ר שֵׁמ֔וֹת

Count all the congregation of the children of Israel, by families following their family houses; a head count of every person according to their names and how many of them.

We will all be part of this.

For those wanting to be part of this shared Shabbat service with all of Liberal Judaism, do come along to FPS to share the streamed service at 11am as usual, to be together – or of course watch from home. I’ll be preaching there, so it may feel familiar. Our own Ben Combe, Gordon and Jane Greenfield, Howard and Valerie Joseph, Josie Kinchin, Alex Kinchin-Smith, Sharon Michael, Paul Silver-Myer and Susanne Szal will be representing FPS.

Shabbat Shalom,