24 May 2017
Jews from Britain, Germany and France are among the latest intake of Progressive Judaism student rabbis at Leo Baeck College (LBC).
Eight students will start on LBC’s acclaimed five-year Rabbinic Programme in September. The class will encompass an eclectic range of people from a youth movement worker to the College’s former Bible lecturer to a campaigning French television journalist.
Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh, the Leo Baeck College dean, said: “In our 60th anniversary year, we are delighted to welcome a strong incoming group with diverse backgrounds and interests. We look forward to their development across the five years of our rabbinic programme and hope, through the interaction between the British and French students, to do our bit for the entente cordiale.”
Students spend five years at the College training for the rabbinate. The depth and intensity of the programme is a reflection of the centrality of the College in the life of the Progressive Jewish world in the UK and Europe. The full programme can be found here.
Almost every serving Liberal and Reform rabbi in the UK, and many abroad, are graduates of the college.
The class of 2017 consists of :
Ann-Gaelle Attias is a campaigning journalist on French media who has focussed on European far right movements in the last few years.
A member of Rabbi Pauline Bebe’s CJL congregation, with which she is very involved, Ann-Gaelle also volunteers with the MJLF East community. After graduating from the Sorbonne, she studied at the CFCJ School of Journalism to receive her official Press Card and has worked for the France 3 television channel since 1998.
Dr Annette M Boeckler grew up in the Rhineland, Germany, as part of Jüdische Liberale Gemeinde Köln in Cologne, and has a PhD in Bible (God as Father).
During a distinguished career – which saw her translate many Jewish works, including the Reform Movement’s Forms of Prayer, into German – Annette had led services and taught liturgy and service leading skills in Progressive congregations in Berlin, London, Basel, Madrid, Montpellier and Lisbon. Since 1993, she has taught Biblical interpretation and Jewish liturgy at colleges and universities, and was the librarian and senior lecturer in Bible and liturgy at Leo Baeck College from 2007-2017.
Matthias Elasri is an actor and theatre director from Paris, who is also a member of the Pauline Bebe’s CJL congregation. Originally a social worker, he graduated from Le Studio, Jean Louis Martin Barbaz in 2006 establishing his own company Le Piment Bleu which he led until 2014. Since 2014 he has been the cultural attaché in four Parisian synagogues.
Anthony Lazarus Magrill grew up in London, attending the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood, continuing a family tradition of English Progressive Judaism that reaches back close to 200 years. In recent years he has attended both the Traditional and Reform communities in Cambridge. Anthony will join Leo Baeck College after completing his MPhil – concluding four happy years studying English Literature at the University of Cambridge.
David-Yehuda (DY) Stern is the current head of youth at New London Synagogue – the founding synagogue of the Masorti Movement. Prior to this he was head of education at Alyth (North Western Reform Synagogue), one of the largest Reform Judaism communities in Europe. DY has an honours degree in film and television from the University of Nottingham and is currently completing an MA in Jewish education at the London School of Jewish Studies.
Gabriel Webber grew up at Kingston Liberal Synagogue, and then taught there for three years until he went to read politics and international relations at Sussex University. While on the south coast he became cheder head teacher at Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue, before returning to London to spend a year as a movement worker for LJY-Netzer – the youth movement of Liberal Judaism. Gabriel is also a keen Limmudnik, presenting sessions on using halacha through principles of modern legal interpretation, religion’s role in elections and a Just William story by Richmal Crompton about a Jewish shopkeeper. Gabriel has worked for Mitzvah Day and, most recently, Finchley Progressive Synagogue, where he was the synagogue’s first community development manager.
Lev Taylor grew up in Reading, as a member of the town’s Liberal Judaism community, and has since been part of synagogues in Oxford, Barcelona, Istanbul and London. He previously worked in the charity and education sectors.
William Carver is a member of both The Liberal Jewish Synagogue and Bournemouth Reform Synagogue. He comes to LBC after a successful business career, which saw him work in the City, industry and, most recently, running his own business. William studied PPE at Oxford University, followed by an MBA at London Business School.
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