I’m delighted that two good friends of New London will be back this coming Shabbat. Natasha Mann is Bat Bayit of the community, now a Rabbinical Student at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. We will also be joined by Rabbi Amichai Lau Lavi of Lab/Shul in New York. Amichai has long had a reputation as one of the most creative and provocative leaders of New York Jewry; he’s the founder of Storahtelling and an inspirational figure for many. In recent months he’s been circulating an argument claiming that the Biblical notion of the ‘Ger Toshav’ - resident alien - provides a mechanism for doing something that for so many, and for so many years, has been a taboo within traditional Judaism - officiating at marriages between Jews and non-Jews. It is a huge issue in American Jewry - see here for more. His is not a position I agree with, either personally or on behalf of the community, but many of the issues Amichai raises - the failure of threats of exclusion to reduce levels of intermarriage and the necessity of recognising the significant Jewish commitments that exist in many intermarried families - are vitally important.
In Shul, on Shabbat, Natasha and Amichai will join me for a discussion on being a welcoming community. All, of course, most welcome.
On Shabbat afternoon, from 5-6:30pm at my home, Amichai will present his paper on the Ger Toshav and we’ll have an opportunity to discuss both the paper and the broader issues it raises. In particular, I want to welcome couples and families of both Jew and non-Jews and others particularly interested in this issue. Please do let me - rabbi[at]newlondon.org.uk know if you can join me.