The Liberal Judaism Chair’s Awards recognise those who are doing wonderful work to support the values and principles of our movement. They are presented every two years at the Liberal Judaism Biennial Weekend.
The winners in 2016 were:
Betty and Peter Benscher for their incredible work for Woodford Liberal Synagogue for more than half a century. Between them, they acted as marriage secretaries for a period of 50 years, covering in excess of 350 weddings. In 2010, they were unanimously acclaimed as the joint life presidents of Woodford. Sadly Betty died in July – shortly after being presented with the award by son Simon, the chair of Liberal Judaism.
Judi and Steve Herman of Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue who were said by the judges to “embody all the ethics, principles and dedication that Liberal Judaism represents”. Judi and Steve have made a huge contribution to their synagogue, and the national movement, over a number of decades.
Jane Greenfield, who has served on almost every Southgate Progressive Synagogue committee in 36 years of membership, as well as the Friends of Progressive Judaism in Israel and Europe, the Leo Baeck Education Centre in Haifa and the Liberal Judaism Biennial organising committee.
Rita Adler, of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, who was chosen for her life-changing work on the synagogue’s asylum seeker drop-in – which requires a huge amount of organisation of volunteers to support the growing numbers of asylum seekers who attend – and ‘Singing for the Mind’, established for dementia/memory problem sufferers and their carers.
Frank Maxwell, president of Birmingham Progressive Synagogue, who was said to “roll up his sleeves, literally and metaphorically, whatever the need”, serving his community in various capacities and playing an instrumental role in the planning of its current building.
Amanda McFeeters, the inspirational, dedicated and hardworking chair of South Bucks Jewish Community, who provides everything from support for the rabbi to a portable Ark for services to a role model for the community’s children.
Tom Francies, who has been an inspiring, incredibly hard-working and universally-beloved leader of Liberal Judaism’s youth movement LJY-Netzer for the last three years – bringing a unique and infectious combination of professionalism, commitment and empathy to his role as a movement worker.
Rosita Rosenberg, a former chief executive of Liberal Judaism, was presented with a lifetime achievement award, acknowledging her insightful mind and deep devotion to Liberal Judaism.