Newcastle Reform Synagogue held a very special kiddush on Shabbat 21 January, as Reform Judaism Board member Brenda Dinsdale explains.
Kath and Ron Lahav moved to Newcastle and almost immediately became involved in the Reform community. Kath, a former librarian and Ron, an avid bibliophile, found the community warm and welcoming and, despite both suffering poor health, they enjoyed the services, the conversation and the community meals.
After Ron’s death in 2009 Kath moved to Bournemouth but still maintained her links with the synagogue. When she died in 2014, Newcastle City Library became the beneficiary of a legacy left to them to develop a special project. The synagogue also received a bequest and on 21 January a special kiddush was held in memory of the Lahavs.
Over 60 people attended the service, led by Rabbi Sybil Sheridan with Judith Silver leading the music. A delicious kiddush was enjoyed by all.
Invited guests included Mrs Sue Winfield, Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear; Barry Speker, Deputy Lord Lieutenant; Cllr Hazel Stephenson, Lord Mayor of Newcastle; Chi Onwara, MP and Fiona Hill of Newcastle City Library.
Synagogue Chair Tony Wortman thanked all involved in the organisation of such a wonderful event, especially Barbara Berg and Synagogue Vice-Chair, Linda Scott. Honorary Life President George Loble talked movingly about the way in which Kath and Ron had been an important part of the community and how the legacy they left will ensure they will live on for ever in the memories of Newcastle Reform Synagogue and the city of Newcastle.
Fiona Hill reported that “to date there has been some progress with the bequest. We have engaged Alan Hayward, an archivist at the Discovery Museum, to deliver a programme of outreach work. He will start visiting members of the community to ensure that precious historical items aren’t lost. He will also seek opinions from members of the community about future activities. This work will feed into the project plan. By working together we will create a collection and a legacy that the Lahav’s would be proud of”.
May their memories be for a blessing.