For generations of Jews, the first lines of the Amidah – the central daily prayer of the religion – have invoked a distinctly male God. As well as eulogising the "God of our fathers", practising Jews refer to the patriarchs of their faith – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
On the last Friday of this month, members of the Movement for Reform Judaism, who make up a quarter of Britain's Jews, will add a further line to the prayer. In doing so, they will usher in a dramatic change to their liturgy which Reform rabbis insist will dispel centuries of sexism and put the women of the Torah, the Hebrew bible, on an equal footing with its men.
A new prayer book to be used by Reform Judaism's 35,000 members will replace the "God of our fathers" in the opening line of the Amidah with the "God of our ancestors" and add to the list of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the names of the matriarchs of the Jewish faith – Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah.>>>