I joined Menorah in 2014 and was elected to the Board in 2015. Being new, I agreed to take responsibility for co-ordinating education (including youth activities) at Menorah, not realising quite how massive a task that was!
Having originally been brought up in a modern orthodox context, as only Mancunians know how, I have rediscovered my connection with Jewish life at Menorah alongside my fiancée, Sarah, who converted through the Menorah Access Course.
Although some might insist that my profession as a barrister does make me just a little more outspoken than many, I do hope to receive more feedback, comments and suggestions (be they good, bad or indifferent) from members that can be built upon rather than to plough my own furrow; Menorah is a community for everyone and that, to me, means trying to accommodate as many views and ideas as possible. Please feel free to e-mail me at if you want to discuss or suggest anything (preferably related to Menorah but there’s always room for more).
Born to Orthodox parents in North Manchester, Gita made the giant geographical and cultural leap to the South (Didsbury) and Reform (Menorah) after her divorce. Shortly after joining in 1999, she inherited the Editorship of the shul magazine, Shofar, and chaired Menorah from 2011 to 2013.
A journalist , she wrote for Jewish newspapers before gravitating to national newspapers and, from there, to BBC television production.
As a magistrate with a particular interest in the Family Courts, she helped to found organisations aimed at repairing the breach between children and their absent parents. This work was recognised with an OBE in 2004.
With an M.A.St.(Oxon) in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, having served on several public sector bodies as non-executive director and with ten grandchildren,, Gita brings the benefit of all her varied experience to the Board of Menorah.
David arrived in Manchester in the summer of 1960 ( at the age of 22) for what was supposed to be a 6 Month working assignment. As a product of the West London synagogue, he naturally sought out Jacksons Row, and plunged immediately into the (mainly social) activities even in those days so typical of the reform movement. Having Joined Menorah in the “Old Fire Station” era. David first served on Council and was part of the selection group responsible for the appointment of Brian Fox. After a gap of many years, re joined as a Director in 2013, principally to represent the Choir at Board level, and has also taken on responsibility for liaison with new and joining Members.
I have been a member of Menorah since 2004 and have served on the Board since 2011. I am a member of the Israel Group and organise Israel Café Sessions and am also the Outreach Co-ordinator, encouraging Menorah members to support destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Greater Manchester. In addition I help organise Shabbat Study Circles, and am Menorah’s Rep on the Manchester Jewish Representative Council. I have a work background in community development and research and am pleased to be able to offer these skills and experiences to benefit Menorah.
I am married to Clive, and have a son Joel and we all enjoy and participate as much as we can in Menorah activities!
Born to Orthodox parents in North Manchester Jennie spent a considerable amount of time in her childhood at a small synagogue in Whitefield ‘The Hillock Hebrew Congregation’ with her Grandfather who was a founder member. Her Grandfather took a keen interest in teaching her to follow and lead the daily and Shabbat services and she said that she has always been able to partake as a result even if it was from the ladies gallery.
Jennie went on to become a member of Yeshurun Synagogue, Gatley in 1998 where she became involved in youth services and activities and for a time she sat on the Board as Honorary Secretary.
Upon marrying Simon in 2014 Jennie decided to move to Menorah so that together they could become part of a community and Simon could sit with her in services and learn Hebrew (apparently he’s doing very well). Jennie’s three teenage boys continue to go to Yeshurun and from time to time come and support Jennie when she is leyning, acting as Warden or in some other way taking part in the service. Jennie is currently leading the Community Engagement Group and also sits on our Social Committee. Simon is a joiner by trade and is on our Buildings Committee giving help around the Synagogue as and when it is needed.
Jennie is a self-employed Barrister. When she can spare some time she can be found in her local gym.
Baron joined the Board in 2016, having been a member of Menorah since 2011, along with his wife Bori Pocz and their two wonderful sons, Noam and David. Born in Manchester, he lived in Oxford, Budapest, London, Tel Aviv and Frankfurt before returning to work in the city he has since championed and on which he remains a recognised expert and commentator. As a child Baron belonged to the Heaton Park Hebrew Congregation, but got his real Jewish upbringing in the Habonim youth movement, eventually making aliyah, where he worked for the Director of Beth Hatefutsoth, setting up the museum’s award-winning website and the world’s first virtual Jewish exhibition, on Jews in Arab lands. Baron also worked for the Besht Tellers theatre group. On returning, he qualified as a City of London lawyer, which took him back to Budapest, where he met Bori. In Frankfurt Baron worked at the European Central Bank and today he is Director of Strategy at MAG, the airport management and services group. Baron also sits on the Board of the Manchester-China Forum, which he established, is Honorary Consul of Hungary and has appeared on national TV and radio, as well as publishing over 50 articles and a regular blog, which can be found at baronfrankal.com.
Vicki joined the board in 2014, having been a Menorah member for more than 20 years. Her cultural involvement with Menorah commenced in 2011 as a leading member of the team that delivered the SMart Festival. Since then she has had roles in the delivery of the Menorah Film Club, the UK Jewish Film Festival and numerous other events. In 2014 her co-leadership of the Festival of the Book @ Menorah involved a cooperative approach with other Manchester reform synagogues and the Manchester Jewish Museum. This partnership theme is something she aims to develop further.
As a complete contrast her career started off in the scientific world but concluded as an HR Director for a large global business. As a student it had been hard for her to choose between science and the arts. Now she no longer has to.
Vicki is married to Bobby. Their family consists of two grown up and four grandchildren. In her spare time,Vicki enjoys cooking and travel, plus of course, all the cultural activities she represents!
I have been a member of Menorah since 2009 and have served on the board since 2011. I am a member of the Israel Group and Ritual and Practices Committee and am currently assisting on the Rabbinic Succesion Group.
In my personal life I am married to Sara and have 6 children.
In my spare time I practice as a Barrister and enjoy mountaineering and climbing as an escape.
I am a semi retired businessman and grew up locally. Married to Marjorie, we have two adult children, Simon and Fabia, who live down south.
I also qualified as a psychotherapist and do voluntary work with the FED. I enjoy Acting, singing and exploring the North West of England’s towns and country. I have always been involved with Jewish life and in the past ran youth clubs for Menorah. I believe Menorah to be the hub of a great local Jewish community that it is now my turn to contribute to its on going success.
Simon was brought up at Manchester Reform Synagogue (MRS in Jackson’s Row) and can claim an early leadership role being chairman of the youth club there. Unusually, Simon can claim to be a fourth generation Reform Jew, his great-grandfather Isaac Asher Isaacs was the (paid) secretary of the Manchester Congregation of British Jews (now MRS) over 130 years ago! His parents were founder members of Menorah, so he remembers services at the Friends Meeting House, the ‘fire station’ (part of the now-demolished Sharston Hall), and the previous building on the current site. He left Manchester to go to university and only returned 40 years later!
He works in human resources as an interim manager, sometimes working, on a temporary basis, for weeks or months away from home.
Simon has previously been a Board member for Maidenhead Synagogue and the Jewish Joint Burial Society so is familiar with Jewish communal organisations. He currently advises the Board on human resource matters and plays a vocal role at Board meetings!
Simon is married to Lorna and their daughter, Zoë, is about to move from Glasgow to London.
LAWRENCE KERSHAW (Hon Treasurer – subscriptions)
Lawrence was born in Manchester and has been a member of the Reform community since he was 7. He celebrated his barmitzvah at Jacksons Row.
He qualified as a Chartered Accountant at 21 and has been in professional practice since. He is married to Janet and has two adult daughters Suzie and Lisa.
Lawrence has rejoined the board, after a 2 year rest, having served for over 10 years previously (6 years as Hon Treasurer)
He enjoys most sports (especially football and Man City) and enjoys travel and puzzles.
I have lived in the north-west since the 1980s and our family joined Menorah in 2002. I have been Menorah’s Board member responsible for synagogue security since 2011. I run a team of enthusiastic volunteers who take turns to be on duty every Shabbat and on all the festivals and also for the wide range of social events that take place at the synagogue throughout the year. I liaise regularly with the Community Security Trust and with Greater Manchester Police, to keep abreast of issues that affect Manchester’s Jewish community in general and Menorah in particular.
JEFFREY KRELL Hon Secretary
Having joined Menorah in 2006 I immediately noticed the welcome given and the friendliness expressed. Rabbi Fox asked if I would represent Menorah at the Rep Council which I did for a couple of years.
I then decided to join the board a thing I would never have dreamt of doing anywhere else it was my way of putting something back.
I enjoy being part of a board that has the wellbeing of Menorah at is heart.
Andrew has been on the board since 2007 and since 2011 has been editor of Shofar – the community magazine. He runs L’Chaim – a lively discussion programme which helps people explore the values of Reform Judaism and their relevance to contemporary life. Following a career in industry Andrew now has a business which helps people and organisations chart their way through change.
Andrew is married to Jane and they have three grown up daughters. He enjoys walking and cooking and the friendship that comes with them.
I was born a true Cockney, but grew up in Canada. I returned to the UK in 1967 to study Optometry at UMIST, where I met my wife, and so stayed in the UK. I spent forty years as an optometrist and at the same time studied for my M.B.Sc. We joined Menorah in 1978 on moving to Manchester. I joined the shul Council in 1980 and apart from having a couple of years off, I have been on the Board ever since. My wife & I began the cheder PTA/Social Committee in 1981 & I was shul Chairman in the early nineties. I retired from work six years ago and now have time to enjoy children and grandchildren and being Chairman of the Cemetery Committee.
Born and brought up in Hackney, London and moved to Manchester in 1979 when my wife Judith began her social work studies. Joined Menorah in 1987 when our eldest daughter was 5 and all three children had their bar and bat mitzvahs at Menorah. Joined the Board eight years ago and worked with the team which developed the new synagogue building. I was delighted to be nominated as Chair. My day work was as a building project manager with housing associations and other charitable bodies where I ran my own practice until December 2014 and still continue with a number of small assignments, some of a voluntary nature.
Menorah is a thriving Jewish community offering a varied range of activities which is why we enjoy being part of it.
ROBERT SHIELDS (Hon Treasurer – Accounts) I joined Menorah in 1971 and our family has been involved in various ways over the years. I served as Chairman in 1990-92 and again in 2007-09, when we established the current building on the existing site. I represent the community on the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Closer to home I look after the finances, the microphones and the website – and our developing audio and video streaming services. In real life I was a medical physicist, working primarily in the field of nuclear medicine, from which I retired in 2010. I am married to Carol, and we have two grown-up sons who live north and south of London. Each son has blessed us with a lovely daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.