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Priest enjoys his Jewish Christmas

10 January 2014


AN ANGLICAN priest decided to forgo mince pies, stockings, and midnight mass this Christmas, and spent the festive period at a Jewish conference instead.

The Revd Patrick Morrow, who is programme manager for the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), decided, for the first time, to stay at the Limmud Conference at the University of Warwick, on Christmas Day.

Apart from a brief excursion to Coventry Cathedral for a Christmas service, Mr Morrow spent the whole day at Limmud workshops and events. He said: "I have volunteered at Limmud for a number of years, and I thought I would go for full immersion into the whole experience. It was immensely moving being there.

"It really surprised the Jews that I did not go [to church] on Christmas Eve," he said. "But they could not have been more welcoming. I explained that I would normally be [at church], but I worked for the Council of Christians and Jews, and I thought that once in a lifetime I was allowed to absent myself from my particular church."

The Limmud Conference, which has taken place each December since 1980, features talks, discussions, music, films, and crafts, among other things. Mr Morrow told the Church Times that he had thoroughly enjoyed his alternative Christmas.

He said: "It was a very relaxed Christmas Day, not being responsible for Christmas services. It is good not to feel trapped by the sense that one has to be doing 101 things during those Christmas days.

"When I returned [from church on Christmas Day] I threw myself back into the maelstrom of these workshops - it's not unlike Greenbelt, with so much going on at once. It was beyond words - wonderful. I have learned such a lot about Judaism, and I even got to worship alongside the Chief Rabbi."

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