RABBI REUBEN LIVINGSTONE
HAMPSTEAD GARDEN SUBURB SYNAGOGUE
RABBI LIVINGSTONE moved to Hampstead Garden Suburb’s United Synagogue congregation in 1999, after 11 years at the Federation Synagogue in Ilford, Essex, and three years at Sale and District Hebrew Congregation in Cheshire. He studied at Gateshead Yeshiva where he gained ordination, then in Israel at Yeshivat Mir and later in Manchester’s Institute for Rabbinical Research where he gained further ordination. He also has graduate and post-graduate degrees in psychology and counselling and Jewish studies. Before ordination, he was a barrister and a solicitor in the City of London and has written general articles as well as several academic papers.
Tell us about your family life
My wife Esther and I have three children, aged from 12 to 17 years. As a family, we like country activities — walks, boating and cycling. My own leisure interests include motorcycling and amassing interesting collectables.
Tell us about a typical week at the synagogue
With around 2,200 members, the typical week is a rollercoaster of celebrations, crises, lifecycle events, lectures, public-speaking slots, services, management meetings and involvement in the wider community.
Tell us what you like most about your role
I love interacting with such a bright, disparate and interesting group of people. I enjoy the intellectual challenges of the role as well as public speaking. I feel that, in a small way, I make a difference to the lives of many people.
Tell us what you do in your time off
As above, motorcycling and collecting as well as writing fiction and non-fiction. I like music and reading — mainly history and thrillers. I am involved with several Israel charities, particularly UJIA. I am also involved with counselling charities, particularly those that focus on young people and their families. Define your Judaism in a dozen words A living faith encompassing a comprehensive set of ideals, values and laws by which we can live our lives. I subscribe to an open, tolerant and humane application of the Halacha while remaining commited to Talmudic and later sources.