Liberal rabbi walks 103km in memory of congregant

3 May 2017

Rabbi Yuval Keren, of Southgate Progressive Synagogue, walked 103km and raised more than £2,000 in honour of congregant Simon Cooper.

Simon died in July 2016, aged 33, developing lung cancer after a lifetime battling cystic fibrosis. Throughout his life, Simon never let his illness hold him back. As well as his non-stop charity work, Simon was a brilliant drummer and musician, devising Liberal Judaism’s Friday Night Rock service.

Half of the money Yuval raised will go to the North London Hospice, where Simon was wonderfully looked after and where, as he neared the end of his life, he married his sweetheart Claire. Yuval conducted a Jewish blessing for the couple after the ceremony.

The other half of the funds will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Society, helping to fund research for a cure for the terrible debilitating illness from which Simon suffered.

Yuval began his walk at Bletchley and finished at Paddington Basin. He spent 24 hours walking, over two days. He was joined by family, friends and congregants at various points along the route.

Yuval said: “Of the entire 103km, I only walked 20 km on my own. For the rest of it, I had constant company including, for the last stretch, 13 members of Southgate Progressive Synagogue and a dog.

“The walk was physically and mentally tough. The worst part of the experience was waking up in the morning of day two, to cover almost the same distance as day one.

“What kept me going throughout was the friendship of those who joined me, kept me company and even carried my bag. I also had in mind Simon Cooper’s absolute determination at achieving his goals, often against all odds.”

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