Jonathan Romain

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Rabbi Dr

Jonathan Romain

The Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE.jpg
Jonathan Anidjar Romain

24 August 1954[1]
SpouseRabbi Sybil Sheridan
ChildrenFour sons
DenominationReform Judaism

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. He has a PhD in the history of British Jewry. He writes for The Times, The Independent,[3] The Guardian,[4] The Huffington Post,[5] and The Jewish Chronicle[6] and appears on radio and television.[7][8]

Professional career[edit]

Romain has been a full-time rabbi at Maidenhead Synagogue since 1980.

From 2007 to 2009, he chaired the Movement for Reform Judaism's Assembly of Rabbis. Since January 2015 he has chaired the Movement's Beth Din.[9]

For several years he was one of the judges for both The Times Preacher of the Year competition and the BBC's Frank Gillard Awards for religious programmes.

He is chaplain to the Jewish Police Association,[10] and until 2018[11] chaired the Accord Coalition,[12] which he helped found[11] as an alliance of religious and non-religious groups committed to campaigning against religious discrimination in state-funded faith schools.

In 2014 he established Inter-faith leaders for Dignity in Dying (IFDiD),[13] 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.[14]

Actions and views[edit]

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".[15]

In 2013 he launched a campaign for recognition of Judaism in China.[16]

His perspective on same-sex marriage is that marriage should be open to all.[17] 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."[18]

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."[19]

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."[20]


In 2003, he was appointed MBE for his pioneering work in helping mixed-faith couples nationally,[21] a theme covered in his book Till Faith Us Do Part (HarperCollins).[12]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Rabbi Sybil Sheridan. They have four adult sons together.[22]



  • Signs and Wonders: a new method of teaching Hebrew, Michael Goulston Educational Foundation (1985; New edition 1992) ISBN 0907372023 ISBN 978-0907372028
  • The Jews of England, Jewish Chronicle Publications (1988) ISBN 978-0-907372-04-2
  • Faith and Practice: A Guide to Reform Judaism Today, Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (1991) ISBN 9780947884086
  • (with Anne Kershen) Tradition and Change: A History of Reform Judaism in Britain 1840–1995, Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (1995) ISBN 0853033161 (hardback) ISBN 085303298X (paperback)
  • Till Faith Us Do Part: Couples Who Fall in Love Across the Religious Divide, HarperCollins (1996) ISBN 0006279252
  • Renewing the Vision, SCM Press (1996) ISBN 0334026571
  • Your God Shall Be My God: religious conversion in Britain today, SCM Press (2000) ISBN 0334028094 ISBN 978-0334028093
  • Reform Judaism and Modernity: A Reader, a survey of Reform theology, SCM Press (2004) ISBN 0334029481 ISBN 978-0334029489
  • God, Doubt and Dawkins, Movement for Reform Judaism (2008) ISBN 978-0947884-17-8
  • Really Useful Prayers, Movement for Reform Judaism (2009) ISBN 978-0-947884-20-8
  • Great Reform Lives, Movement for Reform Judaism (2010) ISBN 978-0947884215
  • A Passion for Judaism, Movement for Reform Judaism (2011) ISBN 978-0947884222
  • Royal Jews: A Thousand Years of Jewish Life in and Around the Royal County of Berkshire, Grenfell Publishing (2013) ISBN 978-0957698604
  • (as editor) Assisted Dying – Rabbinic Responses, Movement for Reform Judaism (2014)[23][24] ISBN 978-0947884246
  • Confessions of a Rabbi, Biteback Publishing (2017)[25] ISBN 978-1785901898

Newspaper articles[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  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.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales
  3. ^ Jonathan Romain (9 October 2012). "A Jewish perspective on same-sex marriage". The Independent. London. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  4. ^ Jonathan Romain (25 July 2011). "Forgiveness must be earned". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  5. ^ Romain's contributions to the Huffington Post
  6. ^ Naftali Brawer; Jonathan Romain (27 April 2012). "Can I accompany my friend to a suidice clinic?". The Jewish Chronicle. London. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain on The Big Questions: 18 February 2018". Movement for Reform Judaism. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain on Victoria Derbyshire". Movement for Reform Judaism. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  9. ^ Josh Jackman (23 January 2015). "Jonathan Romain made head of Reform Beit Din". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  10. ^ Jewish Police Association website
  11. ^ a b Jonathan Romain (12 February 2018). "Why I have campaigned to limit faith schools". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Accord Coalition welcomes Church of England anti-LGTB bullying guidance". Accord Coalition. 17 November 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Jonathan Romain". London: Dignity in Dying. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  14. ^ "IFDiD: Religious support for assisted dying". Religious support. Campaign for Dignity in Dying. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  15. ^ "Assisted dying: Ex-Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey backs bill". BBC News. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  16. ^ Ruth Gledhill and Omar Shahid (23 May 2013). "Rabbi campaigns for recognition of Judaism in China". The Times. London. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  17. ^ Edmund Broch (31 May 2012). "Rabbi Jonathan Romain chastises religious opponents of equal marriage". Pink News. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  18. ^ Jonathan Romain (9 October 2012). "A Jewish perspective on same-sex mariage". The Independent. London. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  19. ^ Jonathan Romain (28 November 2013). "Ignore the French and Legalise Brothels". The Huffington Post. London. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  20. ^ John Bingham (17 November 2014). "Welby hails new beginning for Church as women bishops becomes law". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ "Maidenhead Synagogue in The Times". Movement for Reform Judaism. 11 August 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  23. ^ "New book 'Assisted Dying – Rabbinic Responses'". News and press. Movement for Reform Judaism. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  24. ^ "A Debate on Assisted Dying". Events. Liberal Jewish Synagogue. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  25. ^ Grace Witherden (13 March 2017). "Confessions of a Rabbi book offers behind-the-scenes look at life of Maidenhead's Dr Jonathan Romain". Maidenhead Advertiser. Retrieved 12 February 2018.

External links[edit]