a RADICALLY RELATIONAL REFORM jewish community
in North west London & online
The Story So Far
In 2018, the Willesden Minyan and Shir Hayim: Hampstead Reform Jewish Community began an experiment in creating intergenerational community and enriching Jewish life in northwest London. As Shabbats and festivals were shared, friendships blossomed, and new possibilities for building something together became apparent.
At Chanukah 2018, we decided to form one community, with a shared vision and values. We are in this process of building this community now, with 'Builders' (members) contributing financially and through voluntary leadership to the vision we have established together. As of recently, we have renamed our community 'Makor Hayim' - Source of Life.
Our community is an egalitarian Jewish community: a life-giving space of healing, meaning and hope.
In this broken world of disconnection, fear and social and environmental injustices, we can feel fearful, apathetic and powerless. We respond by building this community to show that another world is possible. Anchored by Jewish tradition, rituals and each other, we are engaged in the practice of how to be more compassionate, loving and just human beings who actively contribute to the world we want to see.
We believe that Jewish teaching and history offer us deep wells of wisdom that is alive and relevant today. By bringing this wisdom into dialogue with our own lives, we believe it can help us to remember who we are, rediscover our humanity, and challenge us to return back into the world as more just and loving people.
We affirm that engaging in Jewish ritual intentionally and creatively enables our healing in a broken world. We hold sacred space to witness each other’s joys and sorrows. By singing, praying, meditating, learning, eating, playing, celebrating and mourning together, we believe we can transform brokenness into wholeness.
We affirm each other as friends and supporters, teachers and students, challengers and seekers. We welcome each other exactly as we are - Jews and non-Jewish allies, believers and sceptics. In relationship with each other, we can replenish our spiritual, emotional and physical reserves, and grow as leaders of the world we want to see.
Torah: Torah - Learning and being in active conversation with ancient wisdom that holds, moves, informs and challenges us
Chesed: Kindness - Being ‘radically relational’: building a community of kindness, care and friendship; showing up for each other’s joys and struggles
Tzedek: Justice - Acting with justice and compassion, working towards the creation of a more loving world; acknowledging the connectedness of our fate with the fate of other communities, British society and the wider world
Kavanah: Intentionality - Creating meaningful Jewish rituals that guide and build intention: engaging intentionally and creatively with Torah & Jewish practice to inspire meaning and connection in our lives
Hineni: 'Here I am' / Leadership - Believing that every one of us, Jewish or Allies, whatever our backgrounds, strengths and relationships with Judaism, has something of value to offer, and the power to make change.
We aim to build a radically welcoming and egalitarian community, where people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, backgrounds, with and without disabilities, can feel there is a place for them as Builders of the community. We strive to ensure that both Jewish and non-Jewish Builders are treated with equal dignity, and can develop their own unique relationship with and contribution to the community. Our goal is for Builders to own, participate in and lead the community, and to recognise and dismantle barriers to participation and leadership for everyone.
We host regular Friday Night and Shabbat Morning services. We also host celebrations for many of the key Jewish festivals in uniquely intentional ways.
All of our activities are planned and hosted by volunteer leaders, and are made possible by people becoming paying members - 'Builders' - who contribute to the costs of our Rabbinic team, Community Coordinator and year-round Jewish events.
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