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John D. Rayner

‘It is a great pleasure and satisfaction for me to have the privilege of welcoming you all.’With these words, Claude Goldsmid Montefiore, standing where I am standing now, give or take a few feet, opened the inaugural session of the first international conference of Progressive Jews on Saturday evening, 10th July 1926.

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John D. Rayner

In the history of Progressive Jewish liturgy, Britain’s Liberal movement has, in spite of its relatively small numbers, played a unique role. For one thing, it has taken cognisance of the liturgical traditions of both of the two main centres of Progressive Judaism: Germany and the United States of America. (Britain’s Reform movement, by contrast, has preferred to do ‘its own thing’, with little reference to what has been done elsewhere.) For another thing, its publication in 1967 of Service of the Heart marked the beginning of a new trend, which has since manifested itself throughout the Progressive Jewish world.

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Charles H. Middleburgh and John D. Rayner

What follows is a transcript of three interviews with Rabbi John D. Rayner, C.B.E., by Charles H. Middleburgh, held over three months between January and March 2005.

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John D. Rayner, Henry F. Skirball, and Colette Kessler