Jonathan Romain
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Rabbi, writer and broadcaster, Jonathan Romain is minister of Maidenhead Synagogue in Berkshire. He writes for religious and national papers and is often heard on the BBC. His many books include ‘The Jews of England’ and ‘Faith and Practice : A Guide to Reform Judaism Today’. In 2004, he received the MBE for his pioneering work nationally in helping mixed-faith couples, a theme covered in his book ‘Till Faith Us Do Part’ (HarperCollins). He is chaplain to the Jewish Police Association, is a board member of the Three Faiths Forum, chair of the Accord Coalition (which campaigns for inclusive education) and a Patron of Dignity in Dying

Entries by Jonathan Romain

David Threlfall's Noah Begs Modern Questions

(1) Comments | Posted 24 March 2015 | (23:00)

Forget about the millions missing Top Gear, the BBC are expecting record viewing figures for another programme next Monday (30 March): a made-for-television film about the life of Noah, with David Threlfall playing the lead role and moving from shameless to righteous.

But it is Noah with a difference, for...

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The Religious Right to Blaspheme

(4) Comments | Posted 27 February 2015 | (23:00)

The BBC poll for the Today programme on Muslim attitudes to free speech and blasphemy has done the debate a disservice - for it has framed the issue as a battle between religious and secular groups. In fact, it is as much an internal religious struggle, and across all faiths,...

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No Faith Is Free From Child Abuse Scandals or Cover-Ups

(1) Comments | Posted 22 February 2015 | (23:00)

What has been happening in Sydney and Melbourne is doubly shocking. First, there have been revelations over a rabbi who abused children at a yeshivah, Jewish learning seminary over many years, which was then followed by a cover-up when allegations surfaced.

Second, it is a wake-up call to...

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A Rabbi Reassures His Community Post-Paris

(13) Comments | Posted 13 January 2015 | (23:00)

The members of my synagogue are worried. What if the attack had not been in Paris but in London? Not on Charlie Hebdo, but on Private Eye? Not on a kosher supermarket over there, but one over here? Is it still safe to go to synagogue and to send our...

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The Conversion Merry-Go-Round

(10) Comments | Posted 2 November 2014 | (23:00)

At this very moment, hundreds of missionaries are criss-crossing Britain an effort to change the religious beliefs of the population. They give lectures in halls, deliver leaflets through letterboxes, chat on the doorstep, talk over the airwaves, accost people in the High Street and set up their own TV stations....

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Special Role for Scottish Jews?

(0) Comments | Posted 16 September 2014 | (13:49)

There are not that many Scottish Jews, and they are relatively new arrivals, but they are equally agonised over the independence question.

There have always been individual Jews who strayed across Hadrian's Wall, but as a settled community they did not start till 1816 with the establishment of the Edinburgh...

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Clergy Press for Faith Schools Reform

(7) Comments | Posted 3 September 2014 | (00:00)

A new alliance of clergy across all denominations and faiths - Anglican, Catholic and other churches (Methodist, United Reformed, Unitarian, Quaker), along with the Hindu, Muslim and Jewish faiths - have come together to call for an end to discrimination in pupil admissions, teacher employment, as well as broadening the...

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The Bishop Is Right to Scrap School Worship

(0) Comments | Posted 9 July 2014 | (15:00)

It is strange for a rabbi and a bishop to want an end to worship - but that is certainly the case with regards to schools assemblies.

As a rabbi I back fully the call of John Pritchard - the Bishop of Oxford and the Church of England's head of...

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What the Quenelle Is Going on With Anelka and the FA?

(5) Comments | Posted 10 January 2014 | (23:00)

Yesterday, France's equivalent of our Supreme Court banned the French comedian, Dieudonne, from performing his roadshow in Nantes on the grounds that it represented a "serious risk" to public order and to French "values and principles, notably human dignity".

This begs a big question about what the English Football Association...

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Ignore the French and Legalise Brothels

(40) Comments | Posted 28 November 2013 | (23:00)

Britain should not emulate France and the bill that is currently before the French Parliament, which will severely penalise anyone caught using the services of prostitutes. Instead, we should move in the opposite direction and legalise brothels.

True, this might seem odd coming from a rabbi - "aren't you clergy...

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The Religious Right Makes an Unexpected Comeback in British Jewry

(17) Comments | Posted 13 November 2013 | (23:00)

An astonishing reversal of fortunes is taking place in British Jewry that will not only affect its future, but also the way in which Jews are perceived generally.

According to figures just produced by the community's representative body, the Board of Deputies, marriages within the strictly Orthodox (Charedi) community are...

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For the Sake of Faith, Remove Face Veils

(66) Comments | Posted 5 November 2013 | (23:00)

Is it possible to be passionately committed to religious freedom and yet opposed to face veils such as in the burka or niqab? I would argue 'yes'.

As a Jewish person living in Britain, I belong to a minority group and I am well aware that I am fortunate to...

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Was Anti-Semitism Lurking Behind the 'Daily Mail's Attack on Ralph Miliband?

(68) Comments | Posted 3 October 2013 | (13:22)

What is really going on at the Daily Mail?

Their attack on Ralph Miliband is so preposterous that there must be a hidden motive behind it. But what?

Yes, he was a Marxist - and the Mail does not like Marxists - but that...

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Forget About What They've Called the Royal Babe, How Do You Feel About Your Own Name?

(161) Comments | Posted 23 July 2013 | (09:17)

It is astonishing how many people do not know what their name means. It is not because they lack intelligence, but because English is a language with so many foreign roots that we have often lost touch with the origins of words. So whereas 'Myrtle' or 'Lilly' obviously refer to...

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Proposed Church of England Takeover of State Schools Should Ring Warning Bells

(146) Comments | Posted 4 July 2013 | (00:00)

Lest anyone think the headline of this article is a secular attack on faith, let me assure them that I am not Dawkins-in-disguise. I value faith - both my own (Judaism) and that of others. I also like churches and often visit them when on holiday because of the deep...

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It's Time to Play Fair and End Religious Restrictions for Children at State-Funded Schools

(7) Comments | Posted 7 June 2013 | (10:44)

If you were in a debate about the meaning of British identity or citizenship, one of the key values that would no doubt be highlighted is fairness - be it in one's personal dealings and 'fair play', or in a legal context and equity in public life.

So you would...

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China's Ancient Jewish Community Is Re-Emerging - But to Unexpected Problems

(28) Comments | Posted 27 April 2013 | (00:00)

One of the greatest anti-stereotype legends is that of the British Jew with western features and dark curly hair who goes to China, visits a synagogue and finds it full of Chinese-looking people. When asked why he has come, he explains he is Jewish and wants to attend a service....

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Benedict XVI's Resignation Undoes the Damage of John Paul II's Final Period

(12) Comments | Posted 11 February 2013 | (23:00)

By resigning, rather than dying in office, Pope Benedict has at last earned his place in the history books alongside his predecessor, making a unique contribution that no one could have imagined.

Ever since he took over from John Paul II, he suffered from comparisons with the latter's charisma. JPII...

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Cameron Should Not Do a Gillard When he Calls the General Election

(0) Comments | Posted 31 January 2013 | (12:19)

What would you think of David Cameron if he called a general election on Christmas Day? Among the politer reactions would be 'Did he really have to choose that day?

This the Jewish equivalent of what Australian prime minister Julia Gillard has done in calling a general...

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British Jews Don't Need Another Chief Rabbi

(20) Comments | Posted 19 December 2012 | (23:00)

British Jews are about to experience a religious revolution parallel to that going on in the Church of England. After being used to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks leading the helm for just over 20 years, a new Chief Rabbi has been appointed.

If the church is still hopelessly divided over women...

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