Jef­frey Ziles

Com­mu­nity man who ded­i­cated Es­sex sy­n­a­gogue merger to chil­dren’s fu­ture

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

LONG- SERV­ING United Sy­n­a­gogue war­den, Jef­frey Ziles, who has died aged 84, was an hon­orary of­fi­cer when Dayan Swift con­se­crated Chig­well and Hain­ault Sy­n­a­gogue’s new build­ing in 1976. In a speech at that cer­e­mony, Jef­frey ded­i­cated the build­ing to “our chil­dren and our chil­dren’s chil­dren, hop­ing they “would en­joy the fruits of our work in peace and tran­quil­lity.”

The mid­dle of five boys born to Mary and Sam Zilesnick, all of whom at­tended Ley­ton­stone and Wanstead Sy­n­a­gogue, he was evac­u­ated with his fam­ily dur­ing the Sec­ond World War to Berkham­stead (1940-42) and then Hud­der­s­field in 1943.

Jef­frey had a dou­ble barmiz­vah in 1946 for which he stud­ied two con­sec­u­tive sets of lein­ing be­cause the in­vi­ta­tions had been in­cor­rectly dated, a fact which went un­no­ticed un­til just be­fore the event. As the boys grew older they made up the Shab­bat minyan at the sy­n­a­gogue per­form­ing many func­tions usu­ally re­served for adults. Jef­frey at­tended Ley­ton High School for boys, and on leav­ing he joined the fam­ily fur­ni­ture com­pany, where he ran the ad­min­is­tra­tive and ac­counts de­part­ments.

It was at Ley­ton­stone Maccabi that he met his wife Sa­nara whom he mar­ried in De­cem­ber 1953, when they were both aged 20. They had two sons, Mark and Gary, and in 1960 em­i­grated to Syd­ney, Australia. But af­ter six years they re­turned to the UK where they set­tled in Chig­well and joined the newly merged Chig­well and Hain­ault Sy­n­a­gogue. Aided by Sa­nara, Jef­frey worked very hard for the com­mu­nity, car­ry­ing out com­mu­nal and re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties with great charm and hu­mour.

Jef­frey was di­ag­nosed with can­cer dur­ing 2016, but cel­e­brated his sec­ond bar­mitz­vah last sum­mer while in the mid­dle of chemo­ther­apy.

He is sur­vived by Sa­nara, their sons, grand­sons and great grand­chil­dren.


Jef­frey Ziles, born July 22, 1933. Died De­cem­ber 4, 2016

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