Poignant reminder of WWI contribution
FORCES PERSONNEL and a JLGB member were among a group of 20 people who visited First World War sites in Ypres.
The trip was organised by We Were There Too, a Lottery-funded digital resource on the contribution of London Jews to the war, both in battle and on the home front.
Rabbi Reuben Livingstone, senior Jewish chaplain to HM Armed Forces, was among the group. He said it was important to remember how Jewish immigrants to Britain volunteered to fight in 1914.
“And most of those fighting when Britain first went to war were volunteers because conscription had not kicked in yet.”
The presence of the JLGB’s Jack Sanders, 19, recognised the wartime service of members of JLB, as it was then known. More than 500 died in action.
Wreaths were laid at JLB graves and the group also visited the burial places of Jews who fought for other nations.
“I know British Jews serving across the world in HM Forces are hugely inspired by the heritage of those who served before us,” observed Major Danny Sharpe of the Royal Army Medical Corps, who chairs the Armed Forces Jewish Network.
A SOLOIST with the New Israeli Opera has hit the right note with the Hove Hebrew Congregation, where he takes over the pulpit this weekend.
Rabbi Samuel de Beck Spitzer, 44, is a professional baritone who has performed principal roles in five different languages under the baton of conductors including Zubin Mehta, Justus Frantz, Christoph Poppen and Daniel Oren. He has also served a Lisbon congregation as minister.
Born in north London to French and Indian parents, he studied music before and after achieving his rabbinical qualification.
For the Hove congregation, the rabbi “embodies exactly the credentials we were seeking and fulfils our challenging expectations”, said Stanley Cohen, its chair.
“I am delighted we have a forwardthinking rabbi with the enthusiasm and essential communicative approach to grow a vibrant congregation. He is keen to establish the ideal infrastructure to encourage young families to [join] our membership.”
Rabbi de Beck Spitzer said he intended “to create a welcoming haven for those near and afar. In this era of globalism, I feel it essential that we think beyond conventional boundaries.”
The 180-member shul was previously served by Rabbi Vivian Silverman from 1995 to 2016.