North West Surrey Synagogue is delighted to announce the appointment of rabbi-to-be Kathryn (Kath) Vardi as its next permanent rabbi effective late July 2017.
Kath is in her final year at Leo Baeck College and will take semicha (become ordained as a rabbi) in July 2017. She came to the rabbinate after a successful career in mental health, first as a psychiatric nurse then as a manager of NHS local and regional services. While taking a career break to bring up her five children, she established a mobile crèche, providing crèche facilities at events such as conferences, weddings and local charity events.
Her activities within Judaism have included a period as head teacher of the Cheder (Jewish Sunday School) in Blackpool and working with Progressive synagogues in and around Manchester. She has also facilitated a prayer leadership course for lay people in Manchester and Merseyside which is now at the core of The Northern Learning House, a regional learning strategy.
Kath’s first visit to NWSS was in January this year, when she led a Saturday morning service as a student rabbi, and it was this experience of the community that prompted her to apply to become the community’s Rabbi. She will be moving from her home in Lancashire with her family and said: “We are really excited to become part of this wonderfully warm community. We have been made to feel extremely welcome every time we visit. Surrey is a beautiful county. You have some beautiful countryside and whilst we are used to some serious hiking in the Lake District I’ve been told that Surrey also sports some pretty good hills”.
Kath will become only the fourth permanent rabbi at NWSS in it’s almost fifty years, following in the footsteps of Rabbis Tony Bayfield, Fred Morgan and Jackie Tabick.
NWSS Chair Ian Lancaster said: “We are all excited about welcoming Kath to lead our community to our fiftieth anniversary and beyond”.