Chief Rabbi praises new HGSS team during double induction
Date Uploaded: 
Wednesday 18th January 2023

The Chief Rabbi formally welcomed Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue’s Senior Rabbi and Rebbetzen, Rabbi Marc and Rebbetzen Lisa Levene, and Community Rabbi and Rebbetzen, Rabbi Luis and Rebbetzen Jodie Herszaft, at HGSS’ Shabbat of Celebration.

The memorable weekend saw more than 500 members attend a Kabbalat Shabbat service led by Chazan Avromi Freilich, with an address by Rebbetzen Jodie Herszaft and the community’s weekly Chicken Soup Kiddush. On Shabbat morning HGSS welcomed around 1,000 members and guests for davening and the rabbinic inductions by the Chief Rabbi. Other dignitaries included Mike Freer MP, local Rabbis and United Synagogue leaders. The service was followed by a kiddush lunch.

The Chief Rabbi said: “I was delighted to participate in the special Shabbat of Celebration at Hampstead Garden Suburb to welcome Senior Rabbi Marc and Rebbetzen Lisa Levene together with Community Rabbi Luis and Rebbetzen Jodie Herszaft. With the two Rabbinic couples and Chazan Avromi and Rochelle Freilich, the HGSS community is now blessed with the ultimate dream team!”

Rabbi Levene said: “The goal of a community is not simply a shared belief system, or proximity or interests, it runs much deeper than this. In our hearts we must feel united with our members, that we can be there to support every soul.”

Rebbetzen Lisa Levene welcomed guests and said: “We are humbled by the outpouring of love we have received since our arrival and we accept the honoured role entrusted to us by Hashem to offer a life of service to the community of HGSS.”

Rabbi Luis Herszaft said: “Jodie and I are feel incredibly blessed to have been so warmly welcomed to this special community. Pirkei Avot, Ethics of our Fathers, writes “Hillel says: Do not separate yourself from the community”- Hillel reminds each of us to engage with and to be actively involved in our communities. Together with the Levenes and Freilichs, we can’t wait to play our part in the next chapter of HGSS.”

James Kaufmann, Chair of HGSS, said: “Shabbat represented the formal beginning of a new chapter at HGSS and brought our community together for a Shabbat of true celebration. It is with enormous pleasure and great happiness that we formally welcome Rabbi Marc and Rebbetzen Lisa Levene and Rabbi Luis and Rebbetzen Jodie Herszaft to HGSS. Our Rabbinic Team, together with Chazan Avromi and Rochelle Freilich, is now complete. My wish is that their collective brilliance will bring much lustre to HGSS for many years to come. Please join me in wishing them, and all of us, many years of success as we all look forward to our shared journey."

Shabbat concluded with a celebratory musical havdalah led by Avromi Freilich and Rabbi Herszaft and featured a surprise video made by members of the community.

Photo credit: Jeremy Coleman