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Acting Co-Chair – Michael Harris

Michael says, “Ever since I can remember anything, I have been a Reform Jew. Due to relocations, just occasionally, because a Reform Synagogue was not always conveniently available (like when I lived and worked in Tokyo), I belonged to a different type of Synagogue.” When Michael moved back to Brighton in 2001, he immediately joined Brighton & Hove Reform Synagogue (BHRS). That is where he has remained, and has been in the Chair (more recently as co-Chair) for about 10 years.

Michael play an active part in Jewish community life in Brighton and Hove. He is a delegate on the Sussex Jewish Representative Council and a member of the Sussex Jewish Golfing Society.

By discipline, he is a solicitor and has spent most of his career as an in-house lawyer in the pharmaceutical industry. Michael joined Alvogen (an international pharmaceutical company based in Iceland) as their General Counsel four years ago and he still works for this company.

Michael has lived and worked in four countries apart from the UK. He has performed a range of roles, including being head of HR and, when he lived in Beijing, being the country manager for China.

Michael is married and has a son at university. Having been bar mitzvah at BHRS, worked at our Cheder and been on Israel Tour, his son became a Rosh with RSY-Netzer. Michael additionally has two sons from a previous marriage and four grandchildren.

He is a member of RJ’s Rabbinic and Cantorial Employment Committee (RCEC) which he joined in 2011. Michael’s election to the Board represents the first time that a member from the Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue has taken a seat on the RJ Board of Trustees.

Acting Co-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.

Trustees

Peter Fraser – Honorary Secretary

Peter Fraser grew up at the Edgware Reform Synagogue (now Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue), staying involved until he went to university. He has been an active member of Kol Chai Hatch End Reform Community for over 30 years, serving on its Management Committee and as Chair of its Ritual Committee.

Peter served as Chair of Kol Chai in 1999 and 2000 during a period of considerable transition for the community starting the project of substantially extending the synagogue premises.

Professionally he is a solicitor and part-time consultant with OGR Stock Denton LLP where he was formerly a partner dealing with company commercial work. He is a keen golfer and rugby supporter.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Daniel Mackintosh

It was in South Africa, as the head of Jewish youth movement Habonim Dror, that Daniel first learnt how powerful it is to be part of a movement, where we act together for the whole. Since arriving in the UK 7 years ago, he have been involved in a number of Reform congregations: as Head Teacher of FRS’s religion school, and then building a new congregation, ‘Makor Hayim’.

In his working life, Daniel has a background in law and was a Clerk at the South African Constitutional Court, but, for the past 6½ years, he has been working as a professional Senior Community Organiser with the charity, Citizens UK. As an organiser, Daniel is developing faith institutions throughout the UK, training their leadership to use the tools of organising, and resulting in congregational growth of 5-10% a year, deeper financial giving, and a greater capacity to act on their organisation’s mission.

Daniel has applied these organising tools at Makor Hayim, which has seen the congregation almost double in size, as scores of new leaders are trained and then supported into participation. 46% of those who have joined this congregation have never belonged to a shul before.

Daniel takes a particular interest in long-term congregational lay leadership development; helping communities understand RJ’s role in relationship to their congregation; supporting our communities to grow in numbers and depth; supporting communities and clergy to strike relationships that enable clergy to build healthy, full lives; re-engaging young people and finally; supporting congregations to deepen cultures of financial giving.

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.

Melvin Pedro

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.

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.

Vice Presidents

Neil Benson OBE

Leslie Bergman

John Cohen

Ruth 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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