Board members

ANN ANGEL
I first became part of the Menorah community when, age 13, I was invited with my friends to found a youth group. It was great fun. I even sat on the Board as the youth representative. An eye-opener!

Coming full circle I am now pleased to hold portfolios for Adult Education and Interfaith issues. Please be in touch if you have an interest in attending sessions, supporting activities or introducing new ideas. Or simply want to enjoy a chat over a nice cup of tea!

I returned to Menorah in 1994 with Paul, my husband, and Ilan and Yuval, our children, who attended the Menorah nursery and enjoyed youth activities. I supported youth leaders and youth activities at Menorah and helped to launch the Kehilla weekend and the Schools Outreach programme. I am currently coordinator of the Access course and adult Hebrew classes, and the Menorah representative for Altrincham Interfaith Group.

Professionally I work in Jewish education. I love to use creative means to explore Judaism, especially Jewish storytelling. I was the Northern Communities Consultant for the Leo Baeck College Centre for Jewish Education, trained youth leaders in Jerusalem, taught B’nei Mitzvah in Haifa and Jewish studies in Manchester. I am now running my own business, offering specialist workshops on Judaism to schools. I also like wild swimming and then eating homemade soup!


JANE BLANK 

I have been attending Menorah for over 25 years and being there with my friends it has become an integral part of my life. I was born and brought up in the Manchester area.

I was married at Menorah to my dear husband Michael who sadly died in 2015.  I am a Health and Social Care Consultant specialising in the work of the  Court of Protection and I am also engaged by several Manchester law firms. I undertake voluntary work with a host of Jewish organisations of all denominations.  Over the years I have been involved in a range of shul activities and I have met and volunteered alongside some wonderful people who have inspired and supported me along the way.  In 2018 I decided to give something back in a more formal way by joining the board.
I am often found at Menorah with usually with a pot of tea in hand – please come up and say hello.


ROBERT CLINE
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 wife, 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)


SIMON JACOBS
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.


kershawLAWRENCE 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.


Kletz-Robert-cropROBERT KLETZ
I have lived in the North-West since the 1980s and our family joined Menorah in 2002, when our children were just starting Cheder.  I joined the Board in 2011 and for the first seven years I was responsible for synagogue security. In 2018 I took on a new portfolio coordinating all volunteering effort in the synagogue.  A lot of synagogue members are happy to help out with various activities but do not necessarily know whom to approach.  At the same time a lot of the activity organisers need help but do not necessarily know whom to approach.  I am the middle-man and a point of contact for everybody.


CATHY KNOWLES
I have been a member of Menorah for over 25 years.  Roles over the years included running Kehilla weekend; leading the Israeli dance class; chairing the Russian twinning group; tutoring Hebrew on Thursday nights; marriage secretary; and more. Outside Menorah, I served on the board of Reform Judaism and helped run Jewish mindfulness retreats.  I am very active in Limmud, supporting Day Limmud events in cities around the UK, including Manchester Limmud since 2013.  I was born in Manhattan, grew up in Los Angeles, and moved to Manchester in 1991. I have always been Reform, and spent 8 wonderful years in the Habonim youth movement – long summers at camps around the USA and Canada and a gap year on Kibbutz Urim in the Negev.  I lived in Jerusalem for 3 years after university. My profession was software engineering, and I am now happily retired.  My son Vince lives in London.  I love the warmth and diversity of Menorah and the range and quality of religious, social and cultural events of this special community.


GERSH LIPSHEN

I have been a happy member of Menorah for over 40 years, interchanging between Orthodoxy and Reform until we found our home, here at Menorah.

Although born in London, Lys, like me grew up in South Africa.  My parents were both from Lithuania, as were many people from that community, so I grew up with a knowledge of Yiddish which was spoken at home, and a taste for East European cooking.  As I grew, so did the community, but after leaving for the greener pastures of Cape Town and then London, the community started to decline in numbers. Today, the community just about exists.

In my professional life I was an actuary dealing with company pension schemes.  Since I retired, things have got a lot more complicated and I’m more than happy not to be on that arena.

However, Menorah has kept me very busy over the years.  I have taught at cheder and at adult Hebrew classes, I’ve organised shofar packing, I’ve been involved with presentations about Judaism to police cadets, and finally I’ve been secretary and chairman.

It has at times been somewhat taxing, but mostly I have loved it.  Being an immigrant to this country, Menorah is both my family and my community.


IAN WEINSTOCK
Ian Weinstock, black coffee drinker, digital technology consultant, passionate about cars and husband to Jenny and parent to Mitten and Robbin (cats). Usually found in Menorah most Erev shabbatim.  Ian is very honoured to have been considered and elected to the role of portfolio IT director. Through the guidance and mentorship of Robert Shields, the dedication of the team at Menorah and the boards commitment of support, we will be sure to continue empowering the Shul and its members with the right tools, support and technology moving forward.