Liberal Judaism is one of the two WUPJ-affiliated denominations in the United Kingdom. It is more radical in comparison with the other one, the Movement for Reform Judaism; as of 2010 it was the fourth largest Jewish religious group in Britain, with 8.7% of synagogue-member households. The beliefs of Liberal Judaism are outlined in The Affirmations of Liberal Judaism, authored in 1992 by Rabbi John D. Rayner, the most prominent of the movement's theologians. Founder Claude Montefiore shared the ideals of worldwide Reform Judaism known as "Progressive" or "Liberal". So did Rayner, who affirmed a personal God; the centrality of the Prophets' moral teachings was stressed. As in the other branches of worldwide Reform, these convictions laid little emphasis on practical observance and regarded the mechanisms of Jewish Law as non-binding. British Liberal Judaism was defined by the radical purism of its founding father, exceptional among his peers worldwide in his desire to universalise and spiritualise Judaism, stripping it bare from whatever he considered overly particularist or ceremonial.
Liberal liturgy in the early 20th century was drastically abridged and more than half of it was in English. Bareheaded men and women sat together, ritual or practical observance were explicitly quite ignored; the Election of Israel was reinterpreted in universalist terms, toning down the separateness of Jews and stressing their mission to spread the Word of God among the nations. Prayers for the restoration of the sacrificial cult in Jerusalem by the Messiah, mentions of bodily resurrection, hostility toward gentiles and overt Jewish particularism were excised or at least reformulated; the sterile character of Liberal services and communal life was replaced in the postwar years since the 1970s, as part of a renewed turn to tradition in the WUPJ. Many congregants sought both more tangible means of religious expression and a link with their heritage. A greater proportion of Hebrew in prayer and ceremonies of little importance but great sentimental value, like the bar mitzvah, were introduced, as well as a greater importance of pronounced Jewish uniqueness.
Head coverings, prayer shawls and the like became more popular. Siddur Lev Chadash, the new 1995 prayerbook which replaced the older Service of the Heart from 1967, had far more Hebrew in the liturgy. Old concepts like kashrut, once totally rejected, were recast with a stress on the autonomy of the individual and ethical implications; the denomination was noted for its incorporation of progressive values and great proclivity to change, while the Movement for Reform Judaism appealed to a more conservative audience and had to be more moderate. In the 1950s, Liberal Judaism was the first in the WUPJ to accept patrilineal descent, allowing children of a single Jewish parent to inherit his status on condition he was raised Jewish. Egalitarianism, gender-neutral language in prayer and LGBT participation, ordaining both female and LGBT clergy and conducting same-sex marriage, were pioneered in British Jewry by the movement. "Brit Ahava", a guideline for LGBT weddings, was published before they were legalised.
Today, Liberal rabbis are allowed to perform "blessing" ceremonies for interfaith couples. The official stance is that the non-Jewish partner is being encouraged to "marry in" rather than the Jewish partner "marrying out" of the faith, it was the first to allow non-Jews to be buried alongside their Jewish spouses in cemeteries. Liberal Judaism is a national union of autonomous communities. In 2015 there were 37 affiliated congregations in England and one in Edinburgh, one in Dublin and one outside the British Isles, in Amsterdam; as of 2010, 7,197 households were registered with the movement, or 8.7% of synagogue-member families in Britain. In addition, Mumbay's Rodef Shalom congregation was founded as a member of the Jewish Religious Union, Liberal Judaism's antecedent; the denomination is chaired by Simon Benscher, who has held the role since 2015. Its Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive is Rabbi Danny Rich, in the post since 2004; the president of the movement is Rabbi Dr. Andrew Goldstein, elected in July 2013 after his predecessor, Baroness Rabbi Julia Neuberger.
The movement is steered and informed by three bodies – the Board of National Officers, the Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors, the Council. The Board of National Officers handles issues of the movement's strategy. Liberal rabbis receive training and are ordained by Leo Baeck College, which the movement funds together with the Reform Movement; the Council is made up of representatives from synagogues, allowing them to
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