Rev Sidney Gold
UNDER THE tutelage of his uncle Abie Eker, Sidney Gold knew from a very early age that he wanted to be a minister. Born in the east end of London, his family moved to Southampton in the 1920s. He was educated at Ariah College boarding school and training establishment for aspiring teachers and ministers, attending Portsmouth Grammar School at the same time.
Later he studied at Jews College, attaining a B.A. in Semitics and a Minister’s Diploma. During this time he continued teaching, leyning and preaching his first sermons in London, Southampton and Bournemouth, where his family had since moved.
In the early war years in London he was an army chaplain, running youth clubs and undertaking fire-watching and air-raid warden duty. He became minister first to the Highgate community, and after the war, Belsize Park. He married Betty Haimovitch, secretary of Bournemouth Synagogue in 1944, and they had two children, Ian and Aviva.
He then served the Bayswater community until 1960, when he became Chief Minister of Birmingham Hebrew Congregation, Singers Hill, recommended by then Chief Israel Rabbi Brodie, serving with eminence until 1987.
Success had not come easily to him, but by considerable self-discipline, he became a scholar with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Torah, philosophy, history, Hebrew and English literature and politics. He also loved ornithology and classical music.
A masterful orator, his sermons were 20 per cent inspiration and 80 per cent perspiration. He was always attentive to the pastoral side of his calling, visiting the sick, raising charity, comforting mourners and engaging with non-jewish religious leaders and communities, long before it was considered politically correct to do so. He regarded this is a Kiddush Hashem, the ultimate act of spiritual dedication.
A passionate teacher, Rev Gold ran and taught cheder classes throughout his career. He retired to Bournemouth but after the passing of his wife in 2009, he returned to Birmingham’s Andrew Cohen Home for the last three years of his life.
He is survived by Ian and Aviva, seven grandchildren and 12 grandchildren.
Rev Gold: attentive and inspiring