Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation

By Geoffrey Pepper

CHIEF RABBI Ephraim Mirvis, local MP Anna Firth and Deputy Mayor Stephen Habermel were among 300 people attending the induction of Rabbi Geoffrey Hyman at Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation (SWHC), in a special service that also celebrated his 40 years in the rabbinate.

SWHC president Michael Nelkin said: “Rabbi Geoffrey and Rebbetzin Michelle were welcomed into our community in 2019, but because of the pandemic this induction was much delayed.

“After nearly four years, we are finally delighted to welcome the Chief Rabbi to our shul for this induction rather than for Rabbi Geoffrey`s retirement!”

The couple have a family of eight, plus 13 grandchildren, and have served a number of other communities including Ilford (now Cranbrook) United Synagogue.

The president added that despite Rebbetzin Michelle separate full time career, the couple’s home is always open and full of warmth.

The Chief Rabbi remarked what a marvellous occasion the induction service was, describing it as “a match made in heaven”. He also praised the community for how they coped with the pandemic.

Responding, Southend’s new rabbi told how he tries to make a difference wherever he goes and loves SWHC’s great warmth and generosity of spirit. He also thanked the army of volunteers that made the day such a success.

The induction service was led by two chazzanim, Shalom Rapoport and Zalmy Cohen, commanding plenty of life and spirit. It was followed by a reception, catered by the SWHC Ladies Guild.

Rabbi Geoffrey Hyman, Ann Firth MP, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis,
Deputy Mayor Stephen Habermel and Michael Nelkin – photo by Ruth Solomons



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