What is it all about, Louis?
50 years of New London and so what?
Next Sunday, 6th July, I have the honour of giving our annual Louis Jacobs Memorial Lecture.
Rabbi Jacobs was the founding – and multi-decade serving – Rabbinic leader of this special community. He was also, in the opinion of more or less everyone, the greatest scholar in the history of Anglo-Jewry. Personally I think he was the scholar who made the most significant contribution across the broadest range of disciplines within the history of contemporary Jewish scholarship. That’s a mighty achievement – bearing in mind his day job was tending to a congregation with the very day-to-day religious needs that would drive most academics to distraction.
What is his legacy?
In many ways it’s us; in our strengths and our weaknesses. But by ‘us’ I don’t merely mean the weekly chevreh at New London, or even our full membership. There are ripples that have extended from New London to begat a British Masorti Movement. Tentacles have extended into the Reform, Liberal and even – let it be whispered – the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox worlds.
In the Jacobs Memorial lecture I want to look at who we are, what we have become; where are our successes and where are our failures? It’s a chance to understand who we are, what we are and what we might yet become.
I do hope you will join me.
The lecture follows the Synagogue’s AGM, earlier in the afternoon. More information below, but I encourage members also to take this opportunity to play a democratic role in guiding the future of our community.