On Tuesday, as part of their Chazon training programme, the new UJS team members met with the Orthodox Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Mirvis, and with Rabbi Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism.
Unbeknownst to the other, Rabbis Mirvis and Wittenberg spoke on similar themes. Whilst Rabbi Wittenberg focused on the perils of engaging in lashon hara, negative speech, and Chief Rabbi Mirvis discussed the sinat chinam (baseless hatred) upon which the Temple was destroyed – giving cause to the Three Weeks mourning period we are currently in – both emphasised the need for the Jewish community to work cohesively across communal divisions and spectrums of the faith. Their words were inspirational for the new team, who are committed to supporting Jewish students in building cross-communal spaces that welcome students of all denominations on their campuses.
Both Rabbis were also keen to hear from the team on how they and their colleagues can best support Jewish students in various aspects of Jewish life on campus, and exciting plans were discussed for initiatives around the UK – and perhaps even internationally – to reach more students than ever in the coming years.
The team left both meetings feeling invigorated: the inspiring words and enthusiasm for involvement that these key communal figures offered have set the stage for a year of engaging programming, passionate dialogue and exciting opportunities. We look forward to meeting with Rabbi Laura Janner Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism and Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi of Liberal Judaism, later during Chazon.