Yom Shabbat, 15 AdarI 5781
Shushan Purim Saturday, 27 February 2021
Chairman's Awards 2012 - The Winners PDF Print E-mail

Name of NomineeAdam Francies

Nominees Community/Congregation: LJY-Netzer (Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue

Reasons for Nomination:

(Sam and Anna) Adam has been an incredibly involved member of LJY-Netzer for many years. More importantly, he has been a movement worker for two years and a student worker for one of those. Whoever has met Adam, and come across the work he does, will know the type of person he is. Dedicated, passionate, friendly and willing to go the extra mile. His fervour for what Liberal Judaism stands for is evident for all to see through conversation and more importantly his actions. A chairman award will be a good indication of how appreciated he has been through his tenure as he moves onto other things. Adam has given so much to this movement, and will continue to do so we are sure. A lot of what he does goes under the radar and we believe he should be honoured by receiving this award.

(Aaron Goldstein) Adam is an example of one of the most important resources in the present and for the future that we have in Liberal Judaism: young lay leadership. As a lad, Adam was a constant challenge to Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein and all those in Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue's (NPLS) Cheder! Yet in particular with his involvement with LJY-NETZER, he has used every opportunity to understand his own personal Jewish Identity and to correlate that with an understanding of the importance of Liberal Jewish values.

Adam sowed the seeds of our renewed NPLS Youth Club and is able to take the 'long view,' identifying strategic resources required for extended development programming. This is evidenced in the nearly fourfold increase in participation of NPLS members in LJY-NETZER activities this year. His commitment to NPLS as 'his Shul' is flourishing as he continues to set precedent for his peers and future generations of young leaders. His recent presentation to the NPLS Couuncil on youth requirements was the first by a young adult for many years and his forthcoming participation on NPLS's Czech Trip illustrates an interest in developing the heritage of his family and the NPLS Community.

We at NPLS, wish to commend Adam for all that he has already provided to our Synagogue and Movement, noting with great anticipation his potential for being an important lay leader in the future.


Name of NomineeBryan Diamond

Nominees Community/Congregation: The Liberal Jewish Synagogue

Reasons for Nomination:

Liberal Judaism has a long and proud history and Bryan Diamond has contributed significantly to ensuring that the history of Liberal Judaism (and the ULPS) has been recorded for future generations.

The Liberal Jewish Synagogue nominates Mr Bryan Diamond for the Liberal Judaism Chairman’s Special Award for 2012 in recognition of Bryan’s longstanding support for the Movement for more than 20 years, particularly in establishing and maintaining the archives of the Movement.

In 1999 Bryan volunteered to be the first Archivist to the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues. He was faced with a significant challenge in sorting out papers dating back many years, but which were important records of the development of Liberal Judaism.

In 2000 he wrote a first Archive entry for the ULPS Yearbook.  In order to create a record of prayer books for the Movement, he searched out many versions of prayer books and had this bibliography published with a paper by John Rayner. Bryan has ensured that researchers from around the world have been enabled to review the development of Liberal Judaism, such as through papers deposited at the London Metropolitan Archives.

Bryan has promoted understanding of the history and development of progressive Judaism through setting up displays of archive papers at LJ conferences and events. He is a frequent participant at LJ events where his knowledge of history and practice is unparalled. His help was recorded in the acknowledgements in the Liberal Judaism Centenary History.

Whilst officially ‘retired’ , Bryan continues to act as Honorary Archivist to LJ and is an enthusiastic and energetic advocate for Liberal Judaism.

John W. Gardner said that ‘History never looks like history when you are living through it’. Bryan Diamond’s contribution has been to ensure that the history of Liberal Judaism has been recorded for present and future generations and it is for this reason that he is nominated for the LJ Chairman’s Special Award for 2012.


Name of NomineeBrenda Dombey

Nominees community/congregation: Kingston Liberal Synagogue

Reasons for nomination:

Brenda is a founder member of KLS and volunteer.

She has willingly tackled the tricky task of collecting subscriptions and chasing people up, whilst balancing fairness and firmness, for several years.

She works closely with Rabbi Charley, Howard Webber and Chair, Mike Barnato.

There is considerable administrative work involved as well as coping with the demands of people who cannot pay and who will not pay.


Name of NomineeGerald and Hilary Fox

Nominees Community/Congregation: Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue

Reasons for Nomination:

Gerald and Hilary Fox have been the secular face of our Community and indeed of Liberal Judaism for the last twenty years and more.

Gerald has represented us on the Board of Deputies which he has attended assiduously. Gerald and Hilary have organised Holocaust Memorial Day in the town of Luton for the last five years.  This is an event to which the whole Establishment of the town and the County come to: the Mayor, the Police, the schools, the many faiths including the Orthodox Jewish Community.  Gerald and Hilary rehearse the diverse participatory groups for weeks in advance.

It is wholly fitting that their good work for the whole community be recognised.  Through Gerald and Hilary, Liberal Judaism IS Judaism in Luton and the surrounding area.


Name of NomineeGillian Raab

Nominated by: Claudette Hudes and Maurice Naftalin

Nominees Community: Sukkat Shalom Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community

Reasons for Nomination:

Gillian has been a central figure in Sukkat Shalom Edinburgh from its very start.  Indeed, she and Charlie hosted many of our early meetings.  She has given her time without reservation, beginning as treasurer, then as membership secretary, and for the last three years as our Chairman.  This period has been extremely demanding on her time and energy, but she has met these demands with cheerfulness and determination, and the results are shown in the continued growth and good health of our community.  She has turned her hand to every task that needs her—organising (and cooking for!) our communal seder, writing our membership management system, updating the website, endlessly negotiating within and outside our community, managing all the diplomatic manoeuvres required to keep a community harmonious, forging a close and constructive relationship with Rabbi Mark, co-ordinating pastoral visits, and who knows what else?  ELJC would not be the thriving community it is without her modest presence and tireless work.


Name of NomineeNick Silk

Nominees Community: Sukkat Shalom Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community

Reasons for Nomination:

Nick has been our Religious Affairs co-ordinator since the community began, serving before that as Chairman of Glasgow Reform (then New) Synagogue.  He does warden’s duties at all our services, which at the High Holy Days are very demanding.  He has been the mainstay of our lay service leadership all along—in our early days we simply could not have held services without him and even now, although he does much to encourage other lay leaders, he is an essential resource and encouragement.  A wandering community like ours needs an efficient manager of resources, to make sure that everything is at the right place and at the right time, and Nick is quietly perfect in this very laborious role.  On top of his formal roles, his quiet wisdom has won him universal respect in the community and given him natural authority and an indispensable role in our collective leadership.  It’s impossible to imagine how Sukkat Shalom could have flourished as it has without him.

Name of NomineeRabbi Pete Tobias

Nominee’s Community/Congregation: The Liberal Synagogue Elstree

Reasons for Nomination : We recognise that all Liberal Rabbis undertake work and projects for the Movement as well as for their own congregations. We are nominating Rabbi Pete Tobias, because we feel he stands out as having taken on (and succeeded) well beyond the norm, as follows:

1. He has completed three successful years as Chair of the Rabbinic Conference.

2. He has just published a new children’s book for Passover, following a previous children’s book for Sukkot/Simchat Torah as well as two other books “Never Mind the Bullocks” for Religion Schools (published in 2009) and “Liberal Judaism – A Judaism for the Twenty First Century”, for Adults (published in 2007)

3. He co-edited (with Rabbi Andrew Goldstein) the current Liberal Judaism Haggadah, published in 2010.

4. He broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 2

5. He has co-chaired (with Simon Benscher) this Biennial

6. He has achieved all the above, which reflect very favourably on his own congregation and the National Movement while ministering to a sizable and active congregation.


Name of Nominee: Phil Stone

Nominees Community/Congregation: Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue

Reasons for Nomination:

Recently he has served the movement by being one of LJ’s official representatives on the Edgwarebury Joint Burial Board.  As Treasurer of that Board, he has been responsible for overseeing a complete review of the operation of Edgwarebury Cemetery including taking a lead in the recruitment of a new Director.

He has also taken an active part in developing policy though the LJ Burial Officers meeting, and has assisted a number of LJ communities with their Funeral Schemes and databases.

Currently Phil is Vice Chair of NPLS and held in the highest regard by our membership. In the last year he has chaired both our Management Committee and Finance Committee.  More importantly, he has been our subscriptions officer for 30 years, responsible not only for collection of subscription – but also the difficult task of reaching suitable arrangements with those in financial difficulty. For a large part of the period he has also been our burial officer.  His work in both roles is well respected by those who know him – he has as much experience in these roles as anyone else in the Movement.

Phil carries out his responsibilities quietly and efficiently – he is one of the tireless workers for LJ and NPLS without whom we would be unable to function.

He has the respect, affection and admiration of all who come into contact with him.


Name of NomineeReni Chapman

Nominees Community/Congregation: Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation

Reasons for Nomination:

Reni Chapman is a shining example of a “ashet hy-il” a woman of valour. She has made an immense contribution to the development of Leicester Progressive Jewish Community and Liberal Judaism over the past 60 years. Irene Schuller was born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1924 the youngest of three sisters and one brother. The family moved to Baghdad in the 1930s and from there Reni moved to Palestine in the 1940s.

Reni was one of the earliest members of the Leicester Progressive Jewish Community. She joined in the 1950s and has been a mainstay ever since. Her enthusiasm, determination, warmth and charisma have welcomed many generations of Jewish families to our community. Rene has served the community officially as Secretary, Newsletter Editor, President and is currently the Membership Officer. But she has also been a friend, confidant, educator and inspirational figure for many.

Reni has welcomed many Rabbis and Student Rabbis to our warm community in Leicester. This includes Harry Jacobi (who led our first services) Danny Rich (then a young wet behind the ears student) and Elli Sarah. She has as amazing ability to welcome and teach people who are rediscovering their Jewish heritage and radiates her love of Liberal Judaism in all that she does.

For the many years that I have know her, Reni has lived with disabilities which limit her mobility. Reni had always coped admirably and without complaint: a shining example to us all of a Liberal women with strength and determination who has inspired generations of liberal Jews.