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