More top quality reporting by the JC last week. After I read their front page headline, “Reform reject chance to choose Chief Rabbi” I was naturally quite surprised when I read the article and couldn’t find anything to substantiate such a hyperbolic headline. I did find Stephen Pack, the new president of the United Synagogue (who commendably proposed the idea that non-orthodox Jews should be given a say in the appointment of the next chief rabbi) quoted as saying that the Progressive movement might decline such an offer, “If they chose not to take it up, I would respect that”.
There was a quote from Reform movement chairman Stephen Moss saying that, the appointment of the chief rabbi had been discussed with Mr Pack’s predecessor, and “all agreed that this was a matter for the United Synagogue” Considering no offer had actually been made, hardly therefore a rejection of the offer. The closest anyone got to a ‘rejection’ of such an idea was a quote by Danny Rich, the chief executive of Liberal Judaism who stated that, “I cannot imagine any circumstances in which a Liberal Jewish representative would be authorised to sit on a panel to select the United Synagogue chief rabbi,”
The anomaly of course is that the chief rabbi is the chief rabbi of the United Synagogue and not actually formally the representative or leader of all Jews in the United Kingdom.
So well done to the JC for upholding enviable journalistic standards. Well done for featuring an article about Reform Jews rejecting an offer that hadn’t actually been made, and given the history of splits between the Reform and Orthodox communities, well done for putting such a divisive and inaccurate headline on your front page.