Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue announces the appointment of a new Senior Rabbinic couple
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Wednesday 22nd December 2021

Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue (HGSS) is delighted to announce today that Rabbi Marc and Rebbetzen Lisa Levene have been appointed as the community’s new Senior Rabbinic couple. It will mark a return to Hampstead Garden Suburb for the Levenes, where Rabbi Levene served between 2012-2017, becoming the community’s Assistant Rabbi. The couple were voted in overwhelmingly by HGSS members over the weekend.

The Levenes are currently the Rabbinic couple of Belmont United Synagogue, where they have served since 2017.

Rabbi Levene grew up in Borehamwood and was a member of Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue. He attended both Watford Grammar School for Boys and JFS, before spending a gap year in Israel with FZY in 2000. He read Community and Youth Studies Leeds Metropolitan University and a Diploma in Youth Work from the National Youth Agency (NYA). After working for the Clubhouse in Golders Green, a centre for troubled teenagers, Rabbi Levene spent 6 years from 2005 at the Darche Noam Yeshivah (Shapell’s) in Jerusalem. In 2011 he received his Semicha (Rabbinical Ordination) from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg z’l.

Rabbi Levene serves on the Executive of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue and can often be seen singing at s’machot, exciting the crowds at the Annual Etgar Competition at Wembley Stadium or on stage at Chanukah in the Square in Trafalgar Square. He is a passionate Liverpool FC supporter and enjoys cooking and single malt whisky.

Rebbetzen Lisa Levene is from Pinner. She completed her BSc in Psychology and Management followed by a Master’s in Personnel and Development whilst simultaneously working for Marks and Spencer and then Mercer Human Resource Consulting. After working in the City for over five years she then spent seven years in Israel, three of which in Neve Yerushalayim Seminary. She was trained by Ner LeElef and received accreditation from the Refuah Institute in counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy. Whilst in Israel she also founded her virtual consultancy firm LL Consulting.

Lisa has completed the Suzi Bradfield Programme for Rebbetzens at LSJS and was part of the initial cohort of Ma’aynot under the auspices of the Chief Rabbi. She instructs and counsels brides before marriage and teaches Bat Mitzvah girls and is known for her warm sense of humour and infectious laughter.

The Levenes have four girls and are expected to start their new role at HGSS in the summer.

Rabbi Marc Levene said: “Lisa and I are delighted to be returning to HGSS. We are excited to ensure that it continues to be a flagship shul of Anglo Jewry. Our primary focus will be to connect and engage with all members ensuring that everyone finds their unique space and place within such a diverse and vibrant community! We will be sad to say goodbye to our wonderful Belmont Family, and appreciate their support, love and guidance that helped us to grow and flourish as educators and spiritual leaders.”

James Kaufmann, Chair of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, said: “I am thrilled that Rabbi Marc and Rebbetzen Lisa Levene will be HGSS's Senior Rabbinic Couple. Their warmth, enthusiasm and dynamism is evident to us all. It is wonderful to be able to welcome them and their entire family back to lead our Community. Together with Chazan Avromi and Rochelle Freilich, we look forward to them enriching the experiences of all our members and helping us navigate as a Community in these uncertain times. I would especially like to thank Barbara Mazliah and the Belmont Community for the way we have interacted. Whilst we are really delighted to welcome the Levenes, I am sorry that our gain is Belmont's loss.”

Barbara Mazliah, Chair of Belmont United Synagogue, said: “Over the past 4 and a half years Rabbi Levene and Lisa have contributed so much to the Belmont community through their spiritual leadership and pastoral care. Although we are, of course, sad to see them leave and will miss them greatly, we wish them much success and happiness in their new roles at Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue.”

Photo credit: Jeremy Coleman