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Our Clergy

 Paul Freedman 

is our Senior Rabbi and has been at Radlett Reform synagogue since 2004.

He grew up in the Reform Movement, though he has also belonged to Liberal and Orthodox communities. He studied Physics at Bristol University and then Education at Cambridge. He taught at schools in Bristol, Bath and then Gloucester, where he was Head of Science of a large comprehensive school, before entering Leo Baeck College to train for the rabbinate. Shortly after becoming the Rabbi of Radlett Reform, he described his role as our Rabbi as a partnership with the community: “I have come to realise how privileged, lucky, blessed I have been in this relationship. I had the sense before, and these first months have made me feel all the more, that the kind of community and rabbi that you want us to be is the kind of rabbi and community that I want for us too.”

Over the time that Paul has been Rabbi of the community, that partnership has strengthened and deepened. He is a former Chair of the Assembly of Rabbis and  a former Governor of Clore Shalom School. He is particularly interested in Jewish liturgy and as a rabbinic student was responsible for typesetting the High Holyday machzor of the Liberal Movement. More recently he edited the Reform Movement's haggadah and is currently editing the new machzor.

Paul is married to Vanessa, who for some years was a librarian at Leo Baeck College, but is now the Hebrew and Jewish Studies librarian at University College London. Paul & Vanessa are proud parents of Joshua and Katie.

Rabbi Celia Surget was ordained in 2007, and joined us in October 2011 to support our rapidly growing community.

 

As a member of the Clergy team, Rabbi Celia is involved in all aspects of synagogue life, - leading services, adult education, pastoral work and officiating at life-cycle events. Rabbi Celia also oversees our flourishing Cheder and continues to develop our exciting youth provision across all ages. Celia grew up in a multicultural home in Geneva, Switzerland and her mother is American and her father French. Her family has been committed to Reform Judaism for several generations.

Celia studied History of Religions, Hebrew and Philosophy at the University of Geneva and began her Rabbinic studies at Hebrew Union College, before transferring to Leo Baeck College in London. On graduating, she spent four years working for the MJLF Mouvement Juif Liberal de France in Paris, where she worked both as a congregational Rabbi and as Director of Education.

She co-wrote a Talmud Torah curriculum designed to meet the specific needs of the French Progressive congregations and she developed informal education programmes such as camps and Israel tours.

Rabbi Celia is a Governor at Clore Shalom School and sits on the Board of the European Rabbinic Assembly for Progressive Judaism.

Cantor Sarah Grabiner joined Radlett Reform following her ordination from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at New York's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2019.

As a cantor, Sarah is a full member of the synagogue clergy team undertaking all the same key duties (Bar/Bat Mitzvah, weddings, funerals etc) as her Rabbinic colleagues.

Sarah is working to engage different groups of the community through music as well as working with young adults.

Cantor Sarah grew up in London and has been keenly involved in Jewish life since starting synagogue preschool at age 2! After high school, she spent a gap year in Israel studying in Jerusalem and volunteering with Eritrean refugees in Tel Aviv, and then studied Hebrew at Oxford University.

Sarah has been involved for years in RSY-Netzer, as a member, leader, and staff member.

 In addition to placements at Temple Avodat Shalom in River Edge, New Jersey and at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, NY, Sarah interned at the Women’s Prison Association.

Fri, 24 January 2020 27 Tevet 5780