Whatever your background or your tradition, your level of observance or your circumstances, you have a home at the OJC. However Jewish you feel, you will find a welcoming community that embraces and recognises everybody.
It’s not just that services are held for Orthodox, Masorti and Progressive forms of prayer, sometimes simultaneously. It’s not just that all the Jews in Oxford are provided, be they permanent residents, students or just visitors passing through. It’s that it is recognised that there is no single kind of Judaism that fits everybody, no one size that fits all.
The OJC encourages membership of the Congregation for all Jewish residents and for anyone who is visiting for any extended period of time, while undergraduates are automatically considered to be members during their time studying in Oxford.
And if you’ve been put off membership in other places, or even Oxford, in the past because you have felt excluded – perhaps you are not at all observant or you are married to someone who isn’t Jewish – think again. You will be just as welcome in this community as those who are already members, and perhaps like some people, you will come to realise that Oxford is the only place you can really belong. Because it really is unique.
Parts of the building can be hired for private use, and schools are welcome to visit the Synagogue during the week.
Many courses are offered, including for adults :
Beginner and Conversational Hebrew
Judaism for Non-Jews
The community takes also part in many social projects, such as :
uses Fair Trade goods all the year round (where kosher)
dried food, tins and toiletries delivered to Asylum Welcome regularly
a group of volunteers make sandwiches every Wednesday for the Gatehouse which feeds tens of people every evening. Sandwich making is done at the OJC regularly and then volunteers take the sandwiches to the Gatehouse in time for the evening meal.
At present there is a special focus on helping refugees, asylum seekers and the homeless and also a plan to raise funds for The Langdon community in London which supports Jewish people with learning difficulties to lead an independent life.
Local branch of CCJ (Council of Christians and Jews)
Participation in interfaith programmes and contact with other faith organisations
Anti-Racism Group (ARG) : it was formed after the meeting in February 2009 called to discuss the sharp rise in Antisemitism following the Gaza conflict. The group was formed by volunteers and has met to discuss local tensions. Its aim is to help the community deal with Antisemitism. Support and information are provided; organising and assisting a variety of communal events and initiatives as well as protesting where appropriate. The focus is the local community including the university. We co-operate and collaborate with other groups similar to ours in other communities as well as with national organisations like the CST (the Community Security Trust).
OJC recently carried out a survey on Antisemitism and a short report on Antisemitism was sent to local MPs. They successfully organised, at very short notice, a stall for the Bereaved Families charity at the “One World” fair at the Town Hall to counteract a Palestinian stall organised by the Oxford Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. The group participates in interfaith programmes and contact with other faith organisations.
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