First-ever public representative for Reform Judaism announced

By staff writers
July 22, 2011

The Movement for Reform Judaism(MRJ) has announced that it is to appoint Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner as its first ever national spokesperson.

The role, known as 'Movement Rabbi', is a full-time position beginning in January 2012, says MRJ.

Ms Janner-Klausner, currently rabbi at Alyth (North Western Reform Synagogue) in North London, will represent the Movement as its rabbinic spokesperson in the public arena.

This is a new position created to increase awareness of Reform Judaism and its values, which are widely shared across much of the Jewish community, says MRJ.

Rabbi Janner-Klausner is a well-known national broadcaster, featuring regularly on, among others, BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme ‘Thought for the Day’ slot, and BBC 1’s ‘The Big Questions’ television show.

In her new role, Rabbi Janner-Klausner will be working with the rabbis of the Movement for Reform Judiaism in promoting their publications and communications, and representing them in wider debates.

She will also teach within the 42 Reform communities across the country and "ensure a spiritual and rabbinic outlook within the management team of the Movement".

Ben Rich, chief executive of the Movement, said: “In Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Reform Judaism has identified a new national voice for mainstream British Jewry. She articulates values, beliefs and practices that resonate with the vast majority of British Jews.”

Rabbi Janner-Klausner herself added: “I am completely thrilled at the prospect of working for the Movement, as we grow intellectually, spiritually and communally. I look forward to strengthening my support to the Reform Movement’s youth organisation, RSY-Netzer. I am also looking forward to mentoring new entrants to the Rabbinate as well as being involved with Jeneration. It is a great privilege to be joining the Movement team and to be taking on this role which I see as a sacred task.”

Jenny Pizer, chair-elect of MRJ, said: “Rabbi Janner-Klausner was the outstanding candidate for the position. She is an influential broadcaster and writer, a great teacher, and a popular rabbi of one of our flourishing communities. She will be a huge asset to the Movement. I am really looking forward to working with her when she joins us at the beginning of next year."

Rabbi Janner-Klausner has been part of the rabbinic team at Alyth since 2003, having been ordained at Leo Baeck College in 2004. She has a BA in Divinity from Cambridge, and post-graduate degrees from Brandeis University and Hebrew University, in Jewish Communal Service and Jewish Education.

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