​​'I think religion is a way for people to live meaningfully together': New Rabbi embraces Stoke Newington

Ruth Seager chair of Liberal Judaism, Owen Power Liberal Judaism link officer, Rabbi Leah Jordan, Robert Freudenthal

Ruth Seager chair of Liberal Judaism, Owen Power Liberal Judaism link officer, Rabbi Leah Jordan, Robert Freudenthal chair of Kehillah North London synagogue - Credit: Juliette Fevre

Stoke Newington’s Kehillah Jewish community’s new Rabbi has pledged to continue the ‘progressive’ and ‘inclusive’ values the faith section embodies.

Rabbi Leah Jordan has taken over at Kehillah North London having been born in Kansas City in the US and spent her past ten years in the capital. 

She said: “I have loved to be in Kehillah so far, getting to know the local area, and the local mosques, and churches, and the other community centers.”
 
Rabbi Leah served for several years as Progressive Jewish Chaplain for University Students and Young Adults in the UK where she provided students on campus with support in their studies. 
 
She has also been a community Rabbi at a small community in Norwich.
 
“Kehillah is similar to my Jewish and life outlook”, she said.

“It is progressive, inclusive, open-minded, and at the same time, embracing the Jewish tradition.” 

As an instance, while being progressive, the community prays almost fully in Hebrew, which means, to the Jewish community, embracing tradition. 
 
When asked if reconciling tradition and modernity was a challenge, Rabbi Leah said there’s “a tension, I think all world tradition and all faith communities are facing, between change and evolving.” 
 
But it shouldn’t prevent them from “getting wisdom and spiritual knowledge from something that’s deeply rooted in generations and generations and in texts that are ancient.” 

“It’s a constructive tension and I like where Kehillah is on that,” she said. 
 
About the role religion plays in people’s modern lives nowadays, Rabbi Leah said: “I think we live very individual lives. The meaning is made at big occasions, when you’re together and you’re celebrating somebody or you’re mourning something.”
 
Therefore, even though religion does not have such an influence on society, Leah said: “People can find it.

“It certainly is an important one in a world in which we’re more than ever separated from one another.
 
“The work of a religion at its best is a way for people to live meaningfully together,” she explained. 
 
Rabbi Leah said she’s looking forward to hopefully working and doing more community building, out of the Jewish community.
 

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