Jonathan Romain

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Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE
The Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE.jpg
Position Rabbi
Organisation Maidenhead Synagogue, The Movement for Reform Judaism and others
Personal details
Birth name Jonathan Anidjar Romain
Born 24 August 1954[1]
Hampstead, London, England
Nationality British
Denomination Reform Judaism
Spouse Rabbi Sybil Sheridan
Children Four

The Rabbi Dr Jonathan Anidjar Romain MBE (born Hampstead, London, England,[2] 24 August 1954[1]) is a writer and broadcaster and minister of Maidenhead Synagogue in Berkshire, England.[3] He has a PhD in the history of British Jewry.[4] He writes for The Times,[4] The Independent,[5]The Guardian,[6] The Huffington Post,[7] and The Jewish Chronicle[8] and appears on radio and television.[9]

Actions and views[edit]

From 2007 to 2009, Rabbi Romain chaired the Movement for Reform Judaism's Assembly of Rabbis,[10] and for several years was one of the judges for both The Times Preacher of the Year competition and the BBC's Frank Gillard Awards for religious programmes.[9]

He is chaplain to the Jewish Police Association,[11] a board member of the Three Faiths Forum,[9] and chairs the Accord Coalition,[12] which he helped found as an alliance of religious and non-religious groups committed to campaigning against religious discrimination in state-funded faith schools.[3]

In November 2012 he established Inter-faith leaders for Dignity in Dying (IFDiD), an inter-faith group of clergy, now numbering 50 leaders of many religious affiliations who support the aims of Dignity in Dying. The group calls for a change in the law that would allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults the choice of an assisted death.[13] In July 2014 he welcomed Lord Carey's support for the Assisted Dying Bill, describing the former Archbishop of Canterbury's intervention in the debate as "a breath of fresh air" and saying that Carey's change of view on the issue showed "it is possible to be both religious and in favour of assisted dying".[14]

In 2013 he launched a campaign for recognition of Judaism in China.[15]

His perspective on same-sex marriage is that marriage should be open to all. He argues that "anyone who takes sacred religious texts literally needs to move on with the times... The Bible is not the literal word of God, but the inspiration of God, as perceived by people of that era and subject to the limitations of the period. It therefore has to constantly adapt according to new knowledge and new insights."[16]

He supports the legalisation of brothels, referring to Genesis and pointing out that “it is not for nothing that it [prostitution] is known as the oldest profession,” adding: “It may be more messianic to want to end the sex trade altogether, but perhaps it is more religious to seek to channel it safely.”[17]

In 2014, on the issue of women becoming bishops in the Church of England he was quoted as saying: "Women have long been accepted as rabbis and have gone on to occupy positions of religious authority in both major synagogues and Jewish institutions. Those who thought Judaism would collapse when this happened have been proved resoundingly wrong and I am sure the same will be found in the Church." [18]


In 2003, he was appointed MBE for his pioneering work in helping mixed-faith couples nationally,[19] a theme covered in his book Till Faith Us Do Part (HarperCollins).[12]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Sybil Sheridan, Rabbi of the West London Synagogue[20] and current Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis.[21] They have four adult sons together.[21]



  1. ^ a b William D. Rubinstein, Michael Jolles, Hilary L. Rubinstein (eds.) (2011). The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 808. ISBN 978 1 4039 3910 4. 
  2. ^ Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales
  3. ^ a b "Religion: Author biographies". BBC. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Till faith us do part: Couples who fall in love across the religious divide". Oxford Talks. University of Oxford. 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Jonathan Romain (9 October 2012). "A Jewish perspective on same-sex marriage". The Independent (London). Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Jonathan Romain (25 July 2011). "Forgiveness must be earned". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Naftali Brawer and Jonathan Romain (27 April 2012). "Can I accompany my friend to a suidice clinic?". The Jewish Chronicle (London). Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c
  10. ^ "New Chair for Reform Rabbis" (Press release). Movement for Reform Judaism. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Jewish Police Association website
  12. ^ a b "Our chair". Accord Coalition. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "IFDiD: Religious support for assisted dying". Religious support. Campiagn for Dignity in Dying. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "Assisted dying: Ex-Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey backs bill". BBC News. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  15. ^ Ruth Gledhill and Omar Shahid (23 May 2013). "Rabbi campaigns for recognition of Judaism in China". The Times (London). Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Jonathan Romain (9 October 2012). "A Jewish perspective on same-sex mariage". The Independent (London). Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  17. ^ Jonathan Romain (28 November 2013). "Ignore the French and Legalise Brothels". The Huffington Post (London). Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  18. ^ John Bingham (17 November 2014). "Welby hails new beginning for Church as women bishops becomes law". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Supplement no 1". The London Gazette (57155): 21. 31 December 2003. Retrieved 27 August 2009. To be Ordinary Members of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire:— Dr. Jonathan Anidjar Romain. For services to Community Relations. 
  20. ^ "West London Synagogue". West London Synagogue. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  21. ^ a b "Rabbi Sybil Sheridan: Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK". Movement for Reform Judaism. 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  22. ^ "New book 'Assisted Dying – Rabbinic Responses'". News and press. Movement for Reform Judaism. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "A Debate on Assisted Dying". Events. Liberal Jewish Synagogue. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 

External links[edit]

  • [1] Books by Rabbi Jonathan Romain on