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- Rabbi Shulamit AmbaluPrincipal RabbiRabbi Shulamit AmbaluPrincipal Rabbi
Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu joined Sha’arei Tsedek as our Principal Rabbi in January 2018.
Ordained at Leo Baeck College in 2004, Rabbi Ambalu is a passionate teacher as well as a learner.
She is committed to bringing joy and meaning to our community’s experience of prayer and learning, everywhere from our baby group to our b’nei Mitzvah programme, to supporting adult learners who are ready to take an active role in leading the religious life of the synagogue.
Rabbi Ambalu also teaches the next generation of rabbis at Leo Baeck College London, lecturing in Mishnah and Talmud.
She is committed to bringing depth and scholarship to the Reform Jewish experience, and has published a number of articles and chapters, the latest of which, Loving Your Neighbour as Yourself, appears in Who Is My Neighbour ed. Richard Carter and Sam Wells, SPCK, May 2018.
Her seminal article on the distinctiveness of Reform Halachah can be accessed here add hyperlink to https://www.reformjudaism.org.uk/reform-judaism-1000-words-halachah-progressive-integrity/
Rabbi Shulamit has two daughters, together with her partner, Rebekka Wedell, a composer and music director.
Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu
DD: 0203 115 1604
- Rabbi James BaadenAssociate RabbiRabbi James BaadenAssociate Rabbi
Rabbi Baaden spent most of his formative years in the United States and Canada. He has a strong connection with the city of Edinburgh as his mother grew up there and his grandparents lived there.
At the end of the 1970’s James returned to the UK as a student. During the 1980’s he worked as a journalist in the field of “religious affairs” and then worked in social research and public policy. He was also a Trade Union Officer.
In the early 1990’s he studied at Leo Baeck College. He was ordained in xxxx and spent eight years as Rabbi of South London Liberal Synagogue.
James joined our community in 2012.
Rabbi James Baaden
DD: 0203 115 1604
- Emeritus Rabbi Colin EimerEmeritus Rabbi Colin Eimer
Rabbi Colin Eimer grew up in Hendon, North London and went to Christ’s College, Finchley and became Barmitzvah at Hendon United Synagogue.
Throughout his teenage years, Colin retained an interest in his Jewish heritage and eventually started going to the youth club at West London Reform Synagogue where he became more and more involved. Whilst attending the youth club he came under the mentorship of the newly-arrived rabbi, Rabbi Hugo Gryn, and through him met other Reform rabbis. Colin soon realised that here was a Judaism which enabled him to live as a Jew in the midst of society and not separated from it. He studied Geography and Economics at LSE with the intention of becoming a Town and Country Planner or a Geography teacher. However, after graduation, he enrolled as a rabbinic student at Leo Baeck College.
He was ordained in 1971 and spent three years as Associate Rabbi at the Paris Reform Synagogue. He returned to England and began teaching French at a school in North London. It was also at this time that he became the first Rabbi at the newly-established Bushey & Radlett Reform Synagogue. In 1977 Colin became the Rabbi at Southgate & District Reform Synagogue. He also taught Biblical Hebrew at Leo Baeck College to a whole generation of Progressive rabbis and now teaches Modern Jewish History.
Colin retired in 2015 and is now Emeritus Rabbi at Sha'arei Tsedek, continuing to have a strong relationship with the community, conducting occasional services, and leading a regular Midweek Discussion Group at the synagogue.
- Roz LevensonHead TeacherRoz LevensonHead Teacher
(Alonim Kindergarten / Religion School)
Roz has worked at Religion School for over 35 years. She started after completing a Leo Baeck College Diploma in Religion School Teacher Training.
She has worked with every age group. Roz says, “I am currently Head Teacher and it has been a privilege over the years to see the pupils I have taught grow and flourish into young adults who are part of our thriving community. Many of them have been and are currently helpers at Religion School. Indeed Esther who I have taught at Alonim, Religion School and B’nei Mitzvah is herself a Religion School”.
Outside of teaching Roz’s interests are very varied. She likes to travel, go to theatre, reading, visit museums, art galleries and stately homes. She also enjoys a bit of retail therapy!
DD: 0203 115 1610
- Denise BonhamSynagogue ManagerDenise BonhamSynagogue Manager
Denise Bonham grew up locally in Barnet and went to The University of Essex where she studied French, Spanish and Linguistics. After graduating she pursued a career in Export Sales and worked for two organisations including an international Japanese trading company in the City.
After a period at home bringing up her three children, she retrained as an EFL/ESOL teacher and taught English as a second language at Barnet and Southgate colleges.
For the last seven years she has worked as the Office Manager at the New North London Synagogue where she has gained experience in the running of a very large synagogue.
Denise lives in Woodside Park with her husband Adrian, their three teenage children and their two cats. She enjoys cooking, travelling, embroidery, playing the piano and flute and reading.
DD: 0203 115 1603
- Louise KatinDirector of MusicLouise KatinDirector of Music
Louise Katin has been conducting the Sha’arei Tsedek choir for over 13 years. She started her musical journey as a Violinist and Saxophonist, obtaining an Honours Degree in Music and Psychology at University. Upon graduating, she went on to study singing under the guidance of Penny McKay at the Guildhall School of Music. Her early singing career in Opera and Musical Theatre included roles such as Second Lady in The Magic Flute, the title role in La Périchole, Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof and Mrs Kneebone in The Dinner Engagement. In 1998 she qualified with a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance Studies having studied at Abbey Opera Training performing roles such as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cherubino in the Marriage of Figaro, Felicia in Il Crociato in Egitto, Ottavia in Coronation of Poppea and Geneviève in Pelléas & Melisande. Having sung as a Mezzo Soprano Louise began to extend her repertoire to Soprano roles and now sings principally as a Soprano. More recently, Louise has established herself as a singing teacher and was Musical Director of A-chord Choir in East Finchley from 2010-2017. She still enjoys being invited to sing solo at concerts, recitals and weddings.
At Sha’arei Tsedek Louise runs the Choir, Koleinu Band, Kollot Rocks Band and she leads the singing during Shabbat services. She can also be found teaching songs to the children at Religion School on a Sunday morning, introducing Jewish music to the next generation of singers and musicians.
- Charley KatanYouth WorkerCharley KatanYouth Worker
Charley grew up in Finchley, North London and attended Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls in Aldenham, Herts.
She is currently studying English Literature at University College London. Charley has been involved with Jewish Youth work for many years and last year she spent past nine months on Shnat Netzer in Israel with Netzer Olami, an experience that taught her valuable leadership skills and more in depth knowledge and understanding of Reform Judaism, Zionism and Tikkun Olam.
Charley holds a Youth Leadership Qualification from RSY-Netzer and was a Pastoral Prefect to 25 girls during her time in Sixth Form. For the past three year’s she has led RSY-Netzer Summer Camp.
She is passionate about music (she plays guitar, piano and the ukulele), literature and drama and has a keen interest in film-making.
- Patsy MaltzDeputy Head Teacher, Alonim KindergartenPatsy MaltzDeputy Head Teacher, Alonim Kindergarten
Patsy has worked at Alonim for seven years and is an experienced Early Years Practitioner.
She is passionate about teaching and developing her skills both professionally and personally.
Her family has been members of Sha’arei Tsedek since 2009 and is very involved in the life of the community. Before joining Alonim Patsy worked for Thomas Cook Holidays recruiting staff to work overseas. She then moved to Whitbread, the UK’s largest restaurant, hotel and coffee shop operator where she recruited restaurant managers.
- Steve LevensonB’nei Mitzvah Programme LeaderSteve LevensonB’nei Mitzvah Programme Leader
Married with two daughters, I have been a member of Shaarei-Tsedek for over 35 years. I have been teaching continuously in our Religion School/B’nei Mitzvah class since 1989 and am currently one of the teachers for our conversion class. I have even been known to conduct the occasional Shul service.
I am passionate about Jewish Education for our youngsters in this modern progressive society. Some years ago, I embarked on a two year study programme to obtain an Advanced Diploma in Jewish Education, which led to further studies which culminated with an MA in Jewish Education under the auspices of the Leo Baeck College.
It is still exciting to see our young students progress and mature through the B’nei Mitzvah class and beyond.
- Deborah WoolfMishpacha Shabbat LeaderDeborah WoolfMishpacha Shabbat Leader