Part 4 of the debate on the Jacobs Affair organized by B’nai B’rith First Lodge on 5th October 2011 at Avenue House in Finchley, with Rabbi Chaim Weiner, Av beth din of the European Masorti Beth Din and former rabbi of the New London Synagogue (between 2000-2005).
Rabbi Weiner comments on his personal relationship with Louis Jacobs, and uses this experience to underscore the fact that the main question Jacobs addressed was not necessarily on what to believe in, but how to establish our beliefs. He would always rely on the evidence at hand, and it is on the basis of the evidence put forward by Bible scholars that he came to question the traditional belief in Torah min hashamayim espoused by the United Synagogue. He would always let the facts guide his religious convictions.
Rabbi Weiner also offers some comments on Jacobs’s legacy. He notes that Masorti Judaism is one of the only movements experiencing growth in European Jewry. He also comments on the number of grassroots initiatives taking place in Anglo-Jewry outside the confines of established movements such as the United Synagoge, the Chief Rabbinate, or Reform, all of which were probably influenced by the Jacobs Affair. The common element between these emerging actors on the Jewish scene is their desire to transcend denominational differences and establishment politics.