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A Diamond weekend as Newcastle Reform turns 60


Newcastle Reform Synagogue proudly celebrated its 60th anniversary at the weekend and were joined by community leaders including the Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and other civic and interfaith dignitaries.  

Established in 1963 when a group of German Jewish refugees was looking for a cheder, NRS now has around 170 adults and children enjoying a range of religious services, adult and children’s education, social activities, and community support. 

Rabbi Sybil Sheridan conducted the commemorative Shabbat service supported by Pauline Statt, and she said how pleased those founder members would have been.  

Rabbi Sybil added: “The work of the community and the involvement of our members is outstanding. We are fortunate to have so many young members with children and Newcastle should thrive for 120 years!”  

Edwin Shuker, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews offered his congratulations and Rabbi Josh Levy, CEO of the Movement for Reform Judaism said in his drosha:  

“When a synagogue such as this reaches a milestone, it is important to recognise those on whose efforts it has been built, those who have laboured in community. That this work too is a religious act, part of creating a full Jewish life and a rich Jewish community. Whenever I have asked about Newcastle, I have heard two themes – firstly, that this is a community built on the love and commitment of its members – dedication, willingness to get the hands dirty.  

And secondly, that here this work is very much about creating a Progressive Jewish community, this is work done l’shem shamayim – for the sake of heaven. Newcastle Reform Synagogue is an exemplar of Progressive Judaism.” 

To complete the chagigah the shul unveiled its bimah cover, fully restored and repurposed from the original one presented in 1963. 

Middle picture: L-R Rabbi Sybil Sheridan, Linda Scott – Chair NRS, Rabbi Josh Levy – CEO MRJ, Ms Lucy Winskill – His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Cllr Veronica Dunn – Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne, Brenda Dinsdale – Hon Life President NRS

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