Reverend Gary Newman retires after 40 years of service

By Manny Robinson

“I loved each and every one of my congregations, wherever I was…”

So spoke Reverend Gary Newman, community welfare minister, at a reception at Cranbrook United Synagogue to mark his retirement after 40 years of ministerial service – 24 of those with Essex Jewish communities.

Reflecting on his time in the clergy, he said: “I never saw my kids growing up. I was never there. Now, I will be able to rest and enjoy my family which includes three granddaughters and a grandson.”

He paid tribute to his wife Gillian – whom he said had been “my guardian, the unsung hero of my career” – and his four decades worth of congregants, describing them as “the extended members of my family.”

An incredible career was highlighted by Bernard Berman, chair of the synagogue, who described how Rev Gary Newman had started at Southport Jewish community, then to the Higher Prestwich Synagogue in Manchester before moving south to Essex – first at Southend & Westcliff Hebrew Congregation, and then onto Newbury Park Synagogue, where he spent 15 happy years in various roles including chazan.

Bernard said: “When Newbury Park merged with the newly formed Clayhall United, Rev Newman went with them. But the closure of the Redbridge Jewish Community Centre, where Clayhall held its services, meant another merger – to Ilford United – which changed its name to Cranbrook United. Rev Newman was there, too, as Community Welfare Officer.

“Through it all Rev Newman has always shown an unwavering attention to those who needed help – often in their darkest hours.”

Reverend Gary Newman gives his moving leaving speech as he says farewell to Cranbrook United Synagogue

Jo Grose, chief executive of the United Synagogue, said: “Forty years is, by any measure, an extraordinary amount of time to dedicate oneself to the Jewish community. During the four decades, Reverend Newman, together with his wife, Gillian, have served thousands of Jews from all walks of life across the country, his passion and love have shone through.”

Dawn Howes, representing the Vi and John Rubens House, added that the beloved reverend had been a consistent visitor and a positive force there.

Others to pay tribute included Geoff Hartell, former vice-president of the United Synagogue, and Harold Marco, former warden of Newbury Park Synagogue.

  • Top photo courtesy of the United Synagogue
  • Second photo courtesy of Arnold Rose



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