RABBI OF THE WEEK RABBI SIMON HARRIS
The 46-year-old minister studied Hebrew and Aramaic at UCL and SOAS, followed by six years in yeshivah in Jerusalem, receiving semichah from, among others, the then Jerusalem Chief Rabbi, Itzchak Kolitz. He previously served the Bournemouth, Irish, Western Marble Arch and Cape Town communities. He and his wife Alison have two children, Akiva, 7, and Levana, 3
Tell us about a typical week There is no such thing as a typical day, never mind a typical week. As the old saying goes: ‘Man plans, and God laughs.’ It’s a mixture of the pastoral, educational, and, hopefully, inspirational. It’s all about making Judaism relevant to people’s everyday lives. The key to success is to try to connect with people, whether through a sermon, a hospital visit, a shiur or a funeral. One should never underestimate the positive effect a good word or a smile can make.
What do you do like most about your role? It uses all the different sides of me. I enjoy teaching, writing, speaking, and being in a caring profession. Above all, I enjoy people. I also find that dealing with life-anddeath situations throws my own life into sharp focus, and I ask myself what I am doing, and whether I am making the best use of my time on God’s earth.
What do you do with your time-off?
Spend it with family. My children love animals, aeroplanes, and gardening. This summer we took them to Longleat, which I loved. Sundays are spent at museums, aerodromes, or in the great outdoors.
Define your Judaism
The mitzvot are supposed to enrich our lives, so my Judaism is life-affirming.