Over three hundred members, guests, civic dignitaries, Christian and Jewish community leaders and many rabbis packed Menorah Synagogue (Cheshire Reform Congregation) for the induction by Rabbi Sybil Sheridan of Menorah’s recently appointed Rabbi, Fabian Sborovsky as Gita Conn explains.
Menorah’s famous choir, led by Musical Director, Ruti Worrall, sang ‘Baruch Ha’ba’, as Rabbi Fabian headed the solemn procession of rabbis entering the synagogue. Followed first by Rabbi Sheridan, then former Rabbi of Menorah, Michael Hilton, Rabbi Colin Eimer, acting senior Rabbi of MRJ, Rabbi Edward van Voolen of the Abraham Geiger College (where Fabian was ordained), rabbis of Menorah’s sister congregations, Rabbis Reuven Silverman from Jackson’s Row and Norman Zalud from Shaarei Shalom proceeded to their places on and near the Bimah.
Audible sounds of “aaah” could be heard as the Menorettes, Menorah’s singing group, enchanted the attentive crowd with their rendition of Hebrew melodies.
Chairman, Howard Barlow, welcomed the guests and related how Rabbi Fabian first visited Menorah last September. “It was quite apparent,” he said “that here was someone special.” To a ripple of laughter, he added “We couldn’t let this one slip away!”
Given Rabbi Fabian’s latter experiences in Europe (born in Paraguay, growing up in Israel and also with years in the US), it was fitting for greetings to be brought from the European Union of Progressive Judaism by its Vice-Chair, Michael Reik. Later, Sue Pearlman presented Rabbi Fabian with a gift from the Movement of Reform Judaism.
Following prayers led by the choir and the formal induction address by Rabbi Sheridan, who spoke eloquently of Fabian’s attributes…and warned him of the challenges to come, a Sefer Torah scroll was taken from the ark by Rabbi Hilton, handed ceremonially from rabbi to rabbi and finally to Rabbi Sborovsky who, in a moving moment, handed it to young Talia Vardi in a symbolic gesture to the next generation.
While first amusing the congregation with his remarks about the Manchester weather, Rabbi Fabian, in his induction address, pointed out that the English tendency to speak constantly about the weather was indicative of a need and ability for people to connect. He quoted eruditely from Torah and Midrash and spoke of his vision for the future of Menorah as its Rabbi.
Everyone was moved when Rabbi Fabian invited his step-father, Herman Kahan, present with his mother, Rita Kent, to recite Kaddish d’Rabbanan. And quite a few were delighted to hear once again the Ashkenazi pronunciation!
The ceremony concluded with a rousing Adon Olam (Ruti’s speciality!) and a glorious afternoon tea prepared by member volunteers Melissa Dorfman, Kerry Barlow and their fabulous team of helpers.
The overwhelming success of the day owes much to Menorah’s great, flexible state-of-the-art building and the efforts of willing members, led by myself, assisted by Keren Chamberlain, to ensure no organisational detail was overlooked.
Photo: Martin Malies