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Date: 2009
Abstract: From the Introduction by Rosalind Peston (Chair of the Task Force): Since the publication of Women in the Jewish Community in 1994 I have been asked on numerous occasions, ‘What happened to your report and its many recommendations?’. In 2008 I approached the Board of Deputies of British Jews with a view to re-visiting the work we had carried out a decade and a half earlier. It soon became apparent that we had to broaden the scope of our original project, reaching out not just to those women who contributed to the ideas in our 1994 report and whose lives had now moved on, but to a whole new generation of younger Jews. The intervening fifteen years had seen many changes in family structure and attitudes to personal relationships, in the economic climate and above all in the ways in which we communicate through new technologies. How had these changes impacted on women’s lives, on their approaches to their Judaism and on their sense of Jewish heritage? How had they influenced women’s perception of community? One of the most exciting elements of the 2009 Review was our on-line survey facilitated by SurveyMonkey. Through this survey along with our focus and discussion groups, Facebook site, questionnaires and face to face meetings we elicited the views and opinions of almost a thousand Jewish women. We decided to let the women speak for themselves and this report Connection, Continuity and Community: British Jewish Women Speak Out is the result. We believe it represents the authentic voice of female Jewry in Britain today. Women are very articulate about their desire for a cohesive, dynamic, inclusive community. We sincerely hope they will be listened to and that the leadership of the community, across the religious spectrum, will heed their concerns and their hopes.