Background

A Balance Between Tradition and Modernity

Photo: P.Kraven

Based on the southside of Glasgow, Glasgow Reform Synagogue (GRS) has been in existence for over seventy-five years. As the only Reform Synagogue in Scotland, GRS is a constituent of the Movement for Reform Judaism. The primary feature of the Reform movement is that of embracing the core elements of a much-treasured tradition with an open-minded, intelligent and pragmatic approach to modernity and reform.

It is a place where Judaism is kept alive and cherished but also studied and explored to find ways in which it can bring meaning to the lives of its members – and how they can bring new meaning to Judaism. It is a form of Judaism which involves all of the congregation – men, women and children – in worship, education and social activity and to make them feel welcome, confident in their Jewish identity and able to practise and pass on our precious faith.

GRS Golden Book. Photo: P.Kraven

Based at the Sternberg Centre for Judaism in London, the Movement for Reform Judaism (MRJ) organises a host of activities and programmes aimed at promoting and supporting Reform Judaism throughout the UK. There is a Northern Resource Centre in Manchester, and there are field workers, whose regular visits to Reform congregations give the whole movement its unity and direction.

Rabbi Tony Bayfield, former Chief Executive, said:

Reform Judaism is practised by the 40 synagogue communities making up the MRJ; that is about one in six of all synagogue members in the UK. Our message of inclusivism, which aims to welcome rather than exclude, has much to say that is relevant to all Jews and the wider community. As part of the World Union for Progressive Judaism with its 1200 synagogues and one-and-a-half million members, it is a powerful force for the religious good, spiritual growth and ongoing education of all Jews seeking Judaism which is rooted in tradition, while responsive to the need for change.