Sy­bil Green­stein

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - MICHAEL GREEN­STEIN


IN­TER­FAITH WORK, Jewish ed­u­ca­tion, com­mu­nal lead­er­ship, even a pe­riod as ed­i­to­rial sec­re­tary at the JC, were the driv­ing forces in the life of my mother, Sy­bil Green­stein. She won West­cliff’s cov­eted Woman of the Year Award for her ac­tiv­i­ties. Many emails re­ceived by the fam­ily af­ter her death de­scribed her as a true Eshet Chayil – a woman of virtue. She demon­strated this in her self-con­trol, diplo­macy, fore­sight, re­spon­si­bil­ity, pa­tience, loy­alty, in­dus­tri­ous­ness, kind­li­ness, self­less­ness and cre­ative talent.

Sy­bil He­len Ap­ple­baum was born to Marie and Wil­lie, seven years af­ter her brother Jef­frey. She was ed­u­cated at Ber­ridge Road School in Huyson Green, Not­ting­ham, where she was con­sid­ered a pre­co­cious and ef­fer­ves­cent char­ac­ter. Af­ter mov­ing to Southend in the sum­mer of 1959 with her par­ents to care for her sick aunt, she stud­ied at West­cliff High School for Girls be­tween 1959 un­til 1965. A star pupil there, who ex­celled in French, English and Maths., she won prizes ev­ery year.

Her par­ents were reg­u­lar shul-go­ers and were both in­volved in the com­mu­nity, some­thing which boosted Sy­bil’s in­ter­est in Jewish stud­ies, in which she also ex­celled, and which led to a pas­sion for Ju­daism and Jewish ed­u­ca­tion. En­cour­aged by Rabbi Sheb­son she started teach­ing the youngest chil­dren at the cheder when she was 12 years old. As a teenager, she was a Jewish Girl guide, went to Bnei Akiva, and chaired CORRA, a youth or­gan­i­sa­tion. In 1965 she joined the Weiz­mann’s So­ci­ety, a so­cial group at­tached to the Fed­er­a­tion of Zion­ist Youth’s Southend branch. There she be­gan dat­ing its chair­man Jef­frey whom she mar­ried on March, 17 1968.

Af­ter leav­ing school she at­tended sec­re­tar­ial col­lege and se­cured a job as a ed­i­to­rial sec­re­tary at the Jewish Chron­i­cle in 1966, which she con­sid­ered the high-point of her work­ing life.

She worked with the ed­i­tors, Wil­liam Frankel and Ge­of­frey Paul, of­ten hav­ing her own work pub­lished un­der a pseu­do­nym. She de­scribed her ex­pe­ri­ences dur­ing the Six Day War as be­ing “one of the most ex­cit­ing. “Dur­ing the days of the War there was a ser­vice ev­ery morn­ing in the sub-ed­i­tors’ room. Ei­ther the Edi­tor or an­other mem­ber of the Ed­i­to­rial Depart­ment would say a few words.

“Of course, the fact that the Six-Day War took place at all was bad enough, but I look back on that time and re­alise that I was into Ray­mond House care home.

Ac­tively in­volved in Jewish and in­ter-faith com­mu­ni­ties, she joined the Her­zlia Day School Par­ents As­so­ci­a­tion, was a mem­ber of the syn­a­gogue coun­cil un­der the pres­i­den­cies of Derek Baum and David Gold for a num­ber of years. She was chair­man of the Southend & District Aid So­ci­ety for over 20 years. She was re­spon­si­ble for the im­por­tant in­ter-faith lec­tures in Southend and Basil­don with schools, Wom­ens’ In­sti­tute groups, cubs, scouts, brown­ies and oth­ers. She was also a mem­ber of SACRE, the Stand­ing Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil on Re­li­gious Ed­u­ca­tion, which ad­vises lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in set­ting a lo­cally agreed syl­labus for re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion.

For 20 years Sy­bil or­gan­ised her leg­endary Yom Kip­pur ladies talks where she demon­strated her in­fi­nite lev­els of en­ergy, enthusiasm and jois de vivre.

In 1999, how­ever, Sy­bil was di­ag­nosed with mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis. She sol­diered on, sto­ically hid­ing most of her worse prob­lems. About five years ago she was up­set to ac­quire a wheel­chair. How­ever, this did not stop her go­ing to Rome and Paris and Is­rael twice. She con­tin­ued as chair of the Southend Aid So­ci­ety un­til 2009, later re­main­ing on the com­mit­tee, which raised thou­sands of pounds for West­cliff’s el­derly.

De­spite her prob­lems she re­fused to give up her in­ter-faith talks on Ju­daism al­most to the end. She won the Woman of the Year Award for her ac­tive work in Ju­daism, Jewish ed­u­ca­tion, Zion­ism and in­ter-faith re­la­tions.

She is sur­vived by hus­band, Jef­frey, sons Michael a so­lic­i­tor, and Jonathan, an en­gi­neer and three grand­chil­dren Jonah 7, Mia 5 and Noah 4. al­most in the mid­dle of it, with­out ac­tu­ally be­ing in the Mid­dle East. I like to think I did what I could at that very mo­men­tous time”.

Sy­bil left the paper when I was born in­1972­fol­lowed­byJonathan,16months later. In 1976 she re­turned to teach­ing at the cheder. She also be­came a full time work teach­ing as­sis­tant at Her­zlia Day School where she taught me, my brother and many of our friends. un­til 1984 when she left to join the fam­ily leather goods and lug­gage busi­ness, Hand­bag House. She worked there un­til 2009 when Hand­bag House closed down. She cared for her mother Marie, for a num­ber of years un­til she moved

Happy times: Sy­bil with hus­band Jef­frey

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