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The Etz Chayim Gallery is delighted to showcase 'An Eye for Nature' by Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh


12 October to 23 November 2015

Official Opening:
Wednesday 21 October 2015 at 7 pm

Charles Middleburgh, Dean of Leo Baeck College, has been taking photographs since he was a child, and more seriously over the last thirty years. He delights in opportunities to observe animals and birds, whether in the wild or captivity, and has had some interesting close encounters as he shoots the portrait-style photographs that are his chosen vehicle. "Being close to animals, especially but not solely the big cats, gives me an unrivalled sense of joy and inner peace, and a day spent taking photographs, trying to capture the essence of a particular creature, is a sustaining pleasure."

For information or private viewing please contact Carole kettle, 0208 950 0208, Mobile 07956 312719 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Please check with the office before visiting 01923 822592



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Leo Baeck College Annual Review 2014-15

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Leo Baeck College Spring 2015 e-News

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Tributes to Rabbi Sheila Shulman z"l


Rabbi Sheila Shulman z"l
18 October 1936 - 25 October 2014

A Geology Lesson

Here, the sea strains to climb up on the land
and the tree blows dust in a single direction.
The trees bend themselves all one way
and volcanoes explode often
Why is this? Many years back
a woman of strong purpose
passed through this section
and everything else tried to follow

Judy Grahn
The Work of a Common Woman
London: Onlywomen Press, 1985, p.88

It was with deep sadness that we at Leo Baeck College learnt of the death on Saturday 25 October of our beloved teacher, friend and mentor, Rabbi Sheila Shulman z”l. Sheila was an exceptional teacher and colleague and an inspirational role model for generations of rabbis and students. Her memory is an abiding blessing.

What follows is a selection of tributes to Sheila z"l from her colleagues, friends and former students:

Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, Principal Leo Baeck College
'I am not sure how to speak from a position of privilege about someone who, for so much of her life, resided outside the normal definitions and bounds of privilege. And yet Sheila was a privilege to know.' Read more >

Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh, Dean Leo Baeck College
'Sheila made an indelible impression on everyone she met and her first on me was when, in her second year, I taught her Aramaic. It was quite clear from the start that Sheila had forgotten more about teaching than I then knew and having her as a pupil certainly kept me on my toes.' Read more >

Rabbi Miriam C Berger, Finchley Reform Synagogue
'As I sat listening to the amazing tributes at the cremation of Rabbi Sheila Shulman on Wednesday I gained a little more insight into the extent to which the world has changed during her life time. I always felt I was a bit of a disappointment as far as Sheila was concerned.' Read more >

Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith, Harrow & Wembley Progressive Synagogue
'Sheila and I had long conversations during the last year or so of her life.  We shared a love for the New York Review of Books and moaned together about the general political state of today's world and the lack of transformational activism in our society'. Read more >

Rabbi Colin Eimer, Sha'arei Tsedek, North London Reform Synagogue
'I first met Sheila Shulman when she applied to the Leo Baeck College. She was one of the first lesbians to apply to the Leo Baeck College to train for the rabbinate. I was part of a small group in the Progressive Jewish world that saw no reason why gays or lesbians couldn’t or shouldn’t train for the rabbinate. Sheila started in 1984 and I was one of her teachers, teaching Biblical Hebrew.' Read more > 

Student Rabbi Roberta Harris, Leo Baeck College
'I met Sheila when she was a student rabbi at Finchley Reform Synagogue in the late 80s. I don't remember much about her until the Shabbat when she preached a sermon that some of us came to call 'Out and Proud'.' Read more >

Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz, Sinai Synagogue, Leeds 
'How do you make a Jew? This is a tried-and-true recipe that has worked fabulously well throughout the centuries, starting with Rikvah and Yitzchak.' Read more >

Rabbi Neil Janes, The Liberal Jewish Synagogue
'And to begin this journey with you today seems most apt because one of my dear teachers and colleagues died last Shabbat. Rabbi Sheila Shulman, z’tzl was one of those teachers from whom I learnt the simple, yet enduring lesson that it is possible to disagree so fundamentally with someone intellectually and yet demonstrate a deep compassion for their being and their humanity. These are my reflections – not a eulogy of her life but how I was transformed in knowing her and learning from her.' Read more >

Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi, Birmingham Progressive Synagogue
'Since I heard that Sheila had died I have been thinking about what made her so special. In part, it was her very gruffness. She was down to earth, no-nonsense and you knew that whatever she said she meant. She had no time for sentimentality and as I write I am conscious of her care about words. The love she extended to those she cared about was absolutely genuine and she had no time for politeness or show.' Read more >

Student Rabbi Daniel Lichman, Leo Baeck College
'This week the Leo Baeck College community is mourning our own Ivri: Rabbi Sheila Shulman, a true crosser of boundaries.' Read more >

Rabbi Professor Jonathan Magonet, Professor of Bible, Leo Baeck College
'I have been trying to cast my mind back to when I first met Sheila when she applied to enter the Leo Baeck College to study to become a rabbi.  At the time the idea of accepting a self-proclaimed radical lesbian feminist was unprecedented and shocking. No one here will be surprised to learn that Sheila was quite upfront and challenging. We had to accept her on her own terms.  As much as we at the College might be judging her suitability to become a rabbi, she was also quite clearly judging us as representing the Jewish establishment and probably expecting to find us wanting.' Read more >

Judy, Marion, Varda and Vivi
'I don’t think there are many rabbis out there who design and set up a community of their own. But then, most rabbis wouldn’t need to. But Sheila, today so much respected by so many in liberal/reform circles, was a pioneer.' 
Read more >

Rabbi Judith Rosen-Berry, Beit Klal Yisrael
'Sheila was looking, she said, for: “more life” and she kept finding it in Judaism, in a religious tradition that was tough, edgy, ironical, and sometimes even funny - a little like her.'  Read more >

Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah, Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue
'I first got to know Sheila in 1982 when we were in a Jewish Lesbian group together for two years. In addition to that connection, which involved weekly gatherings, often at her home, I also worked for Onlywomen Press in 1983 – a unique publishing enterprise run by Lilian Mohin, together with a collective that included Sheila.' Read more > 

Rabbi Alexandra Wright, The Liberal Jewish Synagogue
'This week, my colleague of twenty five years, Rabbi Sheila Shulman died of cancer. She was seventy-eight.' 
Read more >

Rabbi Dr Andrea Zanardo, Brighton & Hove Reform Synagogue
'I cannot begin this week's sermon without mentioning the sad passing of one of the most beloved teachers of mine, Rabbi Sheila Shulman, z''l.' Read more >

If you would like to add a tribute to this page, please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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