Rabbi 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. In 2015 Rabbi Freedman was appointed as Chair of the Assembly of Rabbis and is 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.
He 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 is our Associate Rabbi and Director of Youth. Ordained in 2007, Rabbi Celia joined us in October 2011 to support our rapidly growing community.
As a member of the Rabbinic team, Rabbi Celia is involved in all aspects of synagogue life, especially leading services, adult education, pastoral work and officiating at life-cycle events. Rabbi Celia also leads 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.