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Rabbi Daniel honoured as he departs community he helped to create

A service was held to honour Rabbi Daniel Lichman who, along with two wonderful teams of volunteers, brought together the longstanding Reform community Shir Hayim with the more recently-formed Willesden Minyan to create Makor Hayim in 2018.

The extended Shabbat morning service was predominantly led by the community and filled with blessings, stories and teachings showcasing Rabbi Daniel’s legacy and how it will be continued – as he leaves Makor Hayim.

Rabbi Daniel Lichman blessed by former Makor Hayim Chair Martin Dives

Torah runs so deeply in Makor Hayim that not only had Rabbi Daniel self-published a book with a copy for each builder (member) of his favourite teachings but he was presented with an Oral Torah that the community had written for him.

Trustee Marco Schneebalg said: “Nearly 100 Makor Hayim builders, allies and guests came together for this special Shabbat celebrating Rabbi Daniel’s seven years of leadership in our community.

“For me, the service showed our community at its best – it participatory, joyous, emotional and inclusive of everyone.

“Rabbi Danny shared with us his reflections on his leadership, which he called one of a ‘Ba’al Teshuva’, someone that has come back to Torah and that believes Torah can guide us through the challenges of life.

“He reflected on his journey with us and gave each family a booklet of his teachings, which he felt best represented his theological vision.

“Rabbi Daniel then led us through an amazing ritual of passing the Torah to all community members as we danced, which he shaped to represent Makor Hayim’s journey and to thank all community members for their contributions.”

Symbolising the role of the Movement for Reform Judaism in the creation of Makor Hayim – including providing the seed funding for Rabbi Daniel’s appointment – MRJ’s Director of Community Partnership Sarita Robinson opened the Ark to pass the Torah to the community.

Sarita said: “Our main purpose is to strengthen, support and enable our communities to grow. Thank you, Rabbi Daniel and Makor Hayim for leading with us on this journey.”

A celebratory lunch was held after the service, attended by MRJ CEO and Progressive Judaism Co-Lead Rabbi Josh Levy and the new President of the Board of Deputies Phil Rosenberg.

Student Rabbi Yael Tischler will lead the community for the next year. During the service, she gave a meaningful blessing for the future of Makor Hayim.

Student Rabbi Yael Tischler, Rabbi Daniel Lichman and Rabbi Josh Levy

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