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Chair – Paul Langsford

Paul Langsford has been a member of Alyth for 38 years. Over this time, he has served on the synagogue Council and Executive, chaired the premises, PR and Israel committees and helped with various fundraising, brand and communication projects.

He served on the RSGB Board for six years from 1995 to 2001 and was Vice-Chair. He was then a governor of Akiva School for 10 years and trustee of the Jewish Community Day School Advisory Board for eight years.  He has been a trustee of The Movement for Reform Judaism since 2016 and became Vice-Chair in 2018.  He is also a trustee of the Manor House Trust.

Paul is married to Sarah, who is part of the professional team at Alyth, and they have three children in their twenties, who were actively involved in Alyth and RSY-Netzer.

Paul worked in the corporate design and communications industry for 40 years and was managing director of two of the UK’s leading agencies, before successfully running his own business from 1995 to 2017.

Paul now works as an executive and senior level coach, building his skills, experience and qualifications with coaching experts Management Futures and the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Contact Paul

Trustees

Roberto Lampl – Honorary Treasurer

Roberto is Dutch with roots in Curaçao and Peru. He holds a BA in Economics from Boston University and an MBA from F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.

Professionally, Roberto has over 25 years’ experience investing in Emerging and Frontier Markets managing long only equity funds at Abn AMRO, ING Investment Management, Barings and Alquity. Currently, he is responsible for ESG research as executive director and sector head for financials and real estate at ISS ESG.

Roberto is a member of The Wimbledon Synagogue and has been since 2011. He was their Honorary Treasurer from 2016-2019.

Melvin Pedro – Honorary Secretary

Melvin Pedro has been a partner in Penningtons Manches Cooper, a City law firm with more than 100 partners, for over 30 years. He is a corporate lawyer, has been Managing Partner and Head of Department and now has responsibility for outsourcing operations as a member of the Management Board.

Melvin is also Chair of Governors at Ilford County High School, having been a governor for 15 years and previously Chair of the Finance Committee. He has chaired appeals from staff, students and parents and worked closely with the Local Authority.

Melvin’s wife and two children have all been cheder teachers at Sukkat Shalom and their experiences have informed Melvin’s understanding of how to attract younger people into our synagogues.

He is the Senior Warden at Sukkat Shalom and was Chair of the synagogue when they renovated the synagogue building with finance provided by the National Lottery Board and English Heritage.

Melvin’s strong passion for Reform Judaism began nearly 40 years ago when he joined West London Synagogue and was inspired by the leadership and sermons of Rabbi Hugo Gryn. For many years he has been a lay reader at his synagogue, regularly leading and attending services as well as adult education classes.

Having been involved in Reform Judaism at a local level and at a regional level through ECAMPS, Melvin now has the experience, time and enthusiasm to be involved on a national level.

Daniel Benjamin

Daniel says; “Reform Judaism flows through my veins. From my grandfathers, a founder member and a former president of Bromley Reform Synagogue, and through my parents, both former office-holders within North West Surrey Synagogue, it is perhaps no surprise that I am seeking to assist the Movement.”

Since birth, Daniel has been a member of NWSS. Whilst he may be comparatively young, he certainly does not lack experience.

As a young adult, he served on NWSS Council, leading a team that re-drafted the Synagogue Constitution, which he remains responsible for periodic revisions. He remains involved in Synagogue life – as a father of Cheder-aged children.

By profession Daniel is a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts). Prior to his appointment in 2021, he was a barrister, practising crime and family law. He is also a Recorder (part-time Judge) in the Crown Court and the Family Court.

Gabrielle (Gaby) Mandell

Gaby is an active member of Newcastle Reform Synagogue (NRS) and its Hon. Secretary and has been involved in the Jewish community from childhood.

From Toronto, Gaby is the fourth generation of her family to belong to Holy Blossom Temple.  She also worked with the Canadian Council for Reform Judaism (then counterpart to MRJ in Canada) as Social Action Coordinator on key social justice issues.

At the same time, Gaby worked with a legal aid clinic for young people.  Her focus was community education and establishing student peer mediation programmes in schools, in cooperation with the justice system.  She says that she learned so much along with the students about constructive conflict resolution.

In 2000, she moved to the UK to join CISV International, the umbrella organisation for a non-profit dedicated to peace education – developing in participants and volunteers the attitudes, skills and knowledge to be active global citizens working for a more just and peaceful world.

Gaby recalls that within days of arriving, she got a call from then NRS Chair Brenda Dinsdale to invite her for Friday night dinner. And the rest, as they say, is history.

She has a passion for governance and, over the last year, Gaby has co-chaired the MRJ Governance Group.  Following some time as a consultant, she will be starting a new role shortly as CEO of a professional development organisation.  She is excited about the possibility of serving our national community on the board and believes that the best outcomes are those which truly reflect diverse perspectives, ones which are developed and achieved together.

Kathy Hirst

Kathy Hirst is a member of Finchley Reform Synagogue having been on Council, helping shape children’s services and latterly serving as a Warden, eventually becoming Senior Warden and Chair of Ritual. She also served for 6 years on the Board of Deputies

Professionally she is a criminal barrister, having been in practice for 30 years and for the last 5 years specialising in sexual offences.

Kathy is passionate about fairness and social inclusion.

Roy Saatchi

Roy Saatchi grew up at Alyth and has been a member of Manchester Reform Synagogue for more than 20 years where he helps run the synagogue’s communications.

Professionally he is a journalist and started in broadcasting in 1974 at one of the first commercial radio stations in the UK, Radio City in Liverpool. He then moved to the BBC and for the following 25 years worked in both television and radio for the national networks and the local and regional services. He left to run his own consultancy business, organising media courses and carrying out on-site training.

Roy is a member of the Board of Deputies; an honorary Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University; a jury chair for the Royal Television Society’s Journalism Awards and Chair of the Greater Manchester Police’s Independent Advisory Group for serious crime.

Ian Lancaster

Ian Lancaster is a member of North West Surrey Synagogue (NWSS) where he has twice been Chairman as well as serving as Warden, Fundraising Chairman, Rites and Practices Committee Chairman and Green Team member. He has also served as NWSS’s representative on the Board of Deputies and together with his wife Anita, ran Reform Judaism’s L’Chaim adult education course for the community.

He chairs Renaissance Publishing, the charity that publishes Jewish Renaissance magazine and organises Jewish culture tours.

Ian has had a varied career, including being Drama and Dance Officer at East Midlands Arts, then Arts Director at the Gulbenkian Foundation. He became Chairman of the British-American Arts Association following a fellowship from the US State Department to survey the video and holographic arts fields in the USA.

He set up the UK’s first open-access holography studio at Goldsmiths College, where he learnt to make holograms, moving into work in holography and anti-counterfeiting. In 1982 he founded the first successful display hologram producer, Third Dimension Ltd, then moved to New York as the Executive Director of the Museum of Holography. In 1990 he co-founded Reconnaissance International which publishes business newsletters, organises related conferences and also publishes industry and technology reports, all in the field of security printing and combatting counterfeits. He was also a member of the International Organisation for Standards’ committees in this field.

He is MRJ’s nominee to the Board of Governors of Leo Baeck College.

Michele Saffer

Michele is a founder member of Sheffield & District Reform Jewish Congregation and has been very involved in the congregation including many years on the Committee and served 3 years as Treasurer.

She grew up at Alyth and has also been a member of Reform synagogues in Leeds and Manchester. She is a 4th generation Reform Jew.

Michele is a Chartered Management Accountant and after training in industry, she worked in the NHS for over 30 years including 5 years as Director of Finance for the Sheffield GP Federation.

Joey Leskin

Joey is a Jew of Yemeni descent from London and our trustee for RSY-Netzer and Youth Affairs.

He has spent much of the last decade moving around since being a Movement Worker for RSY-Netzer in 2012-13 and gaining his Master’s Degree in International Relations, having travelled to over 50 countries including over two years in Turkey as the Senior Fieldworker for the JDC. He is currently the Chief Program Officer of KAHAL Abroad, supporting thousands of people in connecting with Jewish experiences worldwide when they travel, work or study abroad. He was the first British graduate of the m2 Senior Educator’s Cohort, the 2020 Programme Chair for Limmud and is the Schusterman ROI Representative for the UK.

Judy Weleminsky

I am a lifelong Reform synagogue member including, for the last 23 years, at Wimbledon Reform Synagogue where my two daughters had their bnei mitzvot. Previously I was a member of West London Synagogue and, before that, of Sinai Synagogue Leeds where I was brought up, having my bat mitzvah and participating in the synagogue’s youth activities.

I am a Warden of Wimbledon Synagogue and have been its Honorary Secretary, Chair of Education and Chair of the Israel Committee. I helped initiate the resurgence of the local Council of Christians and Jews, and am active in the synagogue’s Cultural Events and Activities group.

I chair the Jewish Resource Centre at the University of Roehampton, and also the South London Israel Forum. I am Trustee and Company Secretary of Renaissance Publishing which produces the quarterly cultural magazine Jewish Renaissance.

In my working life I had leadership roles in the charity sector including being Chief Executive of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations and of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship (now Rethink).

I have been retired for 11 years and in addition to the activities outlined above I volunteer as a microbiologist, attempting to resurrect a forgotten treatment for Tuberculosis.

Nicholas Aleksander

Nicholas is a fourth generation progressive Jew – with his great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents all being members of progressive synagogues in the UK. Nicholas was bar mitzvah at Wimbledon Reform Synagogue, was married at West London (under the auspices of Southgate and District Reform Synagogue (now Sha’arei Tsedek)), but for very many years he and his family have been members of Alyth, where his children were all bnei mitzvah. Nicholas has considerable experience and involvement with the voluntary sector – most recently as a trustee and treasurer of a prominent human rights charity. As a (now retired) solicitor, his pro-bono work included advising many charities (from large development charities with worldwide operations, to hyper-local community organisations). He has had considerable experience in advising on reorganisations and mergers of voluntary sector organisations – large and small. Nicholas retired as a partner in an international law firm in 2019, having led their European tax practice. He continues to sit as a part-time judge, adjudicating mainly on regulatory and tax matters.

Vice Presidents

Neil Benson OBE

Leslie Bergman

John Cohen

Dame Vivien Duffield DBE

Andrew Gilbert

Miriam Kramer

Rabbi Professor Jonathan Magonet

Pete Martin

Rabbi Maurice Michaels

Dr Dolf A Mogendorff JP

Stephen Moss CBE

Jenny Pizer

Stephen Rubin OBE

Cliff Siegel

Gordon Smith

Judy Smith

Dr Lisa Stock

Lord Stone of Blackheath

Dr Richard Stone OBE

David Tilles

David Walsh

Paul Winter

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