Sinai Synagogue Leeds’ platinum anniversary celebrations continued last weekend marking 70 years of community life. Representatives of a number of local faith groups were among the guests hosted at the Shabbat morning service of 14 June. They were able to experience the service as well as having the opportunity of meeting members of the Sinai community and learning more about Reform Judaism.
The following afternoon, the 15th, was the very special Civic Service. Guests included the Vice-Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, religious leaders, Robert Weiner, Chair of the Movement for Reform Judaism, chairs of other northern Reform synagogues, leaders of the various local Jewish organisations, and Fabian Hamilton MP as well as some of Sinai’s past rabbis. The afternoon service included speeches and memories of Sinai’s history since it was founded in 1944, and was followed by an afternoon tea prepared by Sinai’s catering team.
Platinum anniversary events co-ordinator Carol Adams said: “The civic service was a wonderful celebration, meaningful to our visitors and to our members. Many visitors commented on what a friendly and welcoming community Sinai is, and how enjoyable their afternoon was. They were delighted with Sinai’s hospitality. Many thanks are due to our wonderful group of volunteers and to our rabbinic team. The whole weekend was a fantastic team effort.”
Sinai’s chair, Elsje Prins, added: “Our weekend of celebrations has been extraordinary. I am proud to be the current chair of such a creative, inclusive and forward looking community. It was a pleasure to host the Vice-Lord Lieutenant and his wife as well as members of other faith communities and representatives of Jewish organisations from Leeds and beyond. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with so many members, old and new, and guests from the wider Leeds community. Seeing our Honorary Life President and founder member, Ruth Sterne, addressing us from the bimah, was deeply moving. We were also honoured by the presence of former rabbis including Rabbi Henry Brandt, who was our first full time rabbi, and Rabbi Douglas Charing. Hearing their recollections and those of Rabbi Charles Emmanuel and Rabbi Walter Rothschild, who were unfortunately not able to be with us, was very special. We heard too from Sinai’s first bar mitzvah boy, Peter Kingsley, as well as other ‘Sinai babies’, David Kingsley and Judith Chapman. It was an afternoon to treasure.”