Rabbi Ian Morris was born and grew up in Melbourne, which is Australia’s largest Jewish community. His family was actively involved in the Progressive Jewish community there, and he was one of the first Reform Movement participants at the Machon l’Madrichei Chutz l’Aretz, (1973) laying the groundwork for what became the youth movement Netzer (and ultimately Netzer Olami).


You’ve been here at Sinai for several years now. Tell us a little about what you did before moving to the UK?
Rabbi Morris: After study at Monash University in Melbourne and the University of New South Wales in Sydney, I went to the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, studying for the Rabbinate in Jerusalem and New York. After ordination in 1984, I served congregations in Perth and Adelaide before I, along with my family, came to Sinai in 1996.
SinaiSynagogue.org.uk I bet moving to Leeds was a little bit of a culture shock?
Rabbi Morris: Well, I can now understand most of what Yorkshire folk say to me, but if I look at you blankly, try it again – only slower…
SinaiSynagogue.org.uk In your duties as Rabbi, you will no doubt find yourself very occupied. Do you find much time to relax?
Rabbi Morris: I enjoy watching the cricket, and will continue to do so until such time as England wins back the Ashes. I figure, therefore, that I will enjoy it for a long time to come.
SinaiSynagogue.org.uk And the Rugby?…
Rabbi Morris: The truth is, I don’t understand or care about the Rugby, but I’m happy to discuss Australian Rules football if anybody is prepared to listen.
SinaiSynagogue.org.uk Sinai has taken a leading role in Living Judaism. You must be very proud of this acheivement?
Rabbi Morris: I am proud that Sinai has become a leading exponent of Living Judaism because it is good for both Sinai itself, and Judaism in general. Organized religion today confronts a new and different world from that of only a generation ago. Living Judaism is a means whereby congregations like Sinai are able to show new generations that Judaism is relevant, engaging and enjoyably rewarding. This, I believe, will remain true long after England – eventually – wins back the Ashes…