Full house for farewell of Harrow minister
NEARLY 400 people packed Harrow’s Middlesex New Synagogue on Shabbat to bid farewell to Rabbi Simon Franses, who has served the congregation for 21 years.
The rabbi, celebrating his 65th birthday, described key achievements as developing a caring congregation and expanding the shul’s role in the wider community. “I am very proud that with your help and assistance, we created a group of people in the previous recession to advise congregants and help them find gainful employment.”
Rabbi Franses, who has served as a mayoral chaplain in Harrow and Hertsmere, also highlighted the shul’s expanded interfaith work with Christians and Muslims.
Special guests included consultant surgeon George Hanna, who performed the rabbi’s recent cancer surgery. Rabbi Franses additionally thanked synagogue members and officers for their support, particularly during his illness.
He was presented with a digital camera, a compilation of messages from members and a deluxe siddur by MNS chairman Jane Prentice, who told him: “Your commitment to MNS has never wavered and your care for the community has continued at all times, even from your hospital bed.”
Rabbi Franses has been appointed rabbi emeritus and his successor, Rabbi Kathleen de Magtige-Middleton, conducts her first service on June 7.