Volunteers

Life, as we know it at The LJS, would not be possible without the hundreds of volunteers who offer their time, talents and experience to ensure that The LJS remains a dynamic, vibrant and welcoming community.

Members and Friends, as well as those who enjoy the atmosphere of The LJS, are involved in a host of different activities from Archives to Young Adults, from Singing for the Mind to the Out and About Club and much more.

A full list of activities and opportunities for volunteering can be found here.

Our Rabbis

Senior Rabbi Alexandra Wright

Rabbi Alexandra Wright grew up at the LJS and was ordained at Leo Baeck College in 1986. She served as Associate Rabbi at The LJS under the guidance of Rabbi David Goldberg and Rabbi John Rayner from 1986-89.

From 1990-2003 she was Rabbi at Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue, where she founded and established The Learning Circle, the only Jewish adult learning centre in the area, sponsored by four Liberal, Reform and Masorti synagogues in conjunction with Spiro Ark. During that time, she taught classical Hebrew at Leo Baeck College, an elective in the Maharal of Prague and for a number of years co-ordinated the tutorial system for students. She is active in the Council of Christians and Jews and for five years served as the North London Hospice’s Jewish chaplain on their multi-faith chaplaincy team.

Rabbi Wright has contributed to Hear our Voice and Taking up the Timbrel, anthologies of essays and liturgies by women rabbis, edited by Rabbis Sybil Sheridan and Sylvia Rothschild. She is currently editing a Pesach Haggadah together with Reform and Liberal colleagues.

Rabbi Rachel Benjamin

Rabbi Rachel Benjamin was ordained in 1998 and served as Assistant Rabbi and then Associate Rabbi of Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue until 2004. After that, she served as Rabbi of the Progressive Jewish Community of East Anglia and Woodford Progressive Synagogue, before joining South Bucks Jewish Community in 2006 where she served until 2015.

She was appointed as Rabbi at The LJS where she had previously served to cover rabbinic sabbaticals and leave of absence. From 2005-08 Rachel served as Joint Chair of Liberal Judaism’s Rabbinic Conference and is committed to interfaith dialogue, working closely with the Sternberg Centre Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogue group, Multi-Faith One vision, a new group which started up recently in Chesham and has a close relationship with the Auerbacher Synagogenverein in Germany. She has taught at Leo Baeck College, and at the University of London (Heythrop College). Rachel plays the guitar and is passionate about Jewish music. She created a singing group at NPLS which, among other engagements, sang at the Jewish Cultural Day at the Millennium Dome in 2000. She led the Creative Music Workshop for the Liberal Judaism Day of Singing in 2003 and is an active participant in LJS music events.

Rabbi Emeritus Dr David J Goldberg OBE

Rabbi Dr David J Goldberg OBE (Rabbi Emeritus) was educated at Manchester Grammar School, Oxford University, and Trinity College, Dublin. He received his rabbinic  ordination from Leo Baeck College in 1971. A former chairman of the Rabbinic Conference of the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, and co-chairman of the London Society of Jews and Christians, he has contributed regularly on Jewish and Israeli topics to The Times, The Independent, The Observer and many other newspapers and journals.

He was awarded an OBE in 2004 for services to interfaith work. He co-authored The Jewish People (Viking 1989) with Rabbi John Rayner. The translation of his book, To The Promised Land: A History of Zionist Thought (Penguin 1996) was awarded the 1999 Premio Iglesias for its Italian edition. Active in interfaith work, in 1999 he was awarded the Gold Medallion of the International Council of Christians and Jews for his outstanding contribution to interfaith harmony and understanding. His book, The Divided Self: the Jewish Psyche Today, was published in April 2006.

Senior Staff Members

Executive Director
Lysa Schwartz
Religion School Head Teacher
Dr Dov Softi
Community Care Coordinator
Aviva Shafritz
Director of Music Cathy Heller-Jones

Council

Chairman
Sue Head
Honorary Treasurer
Peter Loble
Honorary Treasurer
Barbara Fidler
Council Member
Bryan Diamond
Council Member
Josie Lane
Council Member
Karen Newman
Council Member
Steve Penn
Council Member
Anthony Sefton
Council Member
Steve Behr
Council Member
Isobel Davies-Benjamin
Council Member
Russell Delew
Council Member
Alex Weiss
Council Member
Chris Goldbold
Council Member
David Davidson
Council Member
Sylvia Churba