Find us on:facebooklinkedintwitterYouTube

QAA website

News Current News


In memory of Rabbi Sheila Shulman ז״ל

 An Evening of Study at Finchley Reform Synagogue. In memory of Rabbi Sheila Shulman ז״ל .

sunday 14 Dec websiteJoin us as we study some of Sheila’s own texts and those ideas that influenced her the most.

There will be opportunities to study with Rabbi Judith Rosen-Berry and other students and colleagues of Sheila.


More information from This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Community Engagement & Development, Finchley Reform Synagogue, 020 8446 3244


Download the publicity flyer from here



Book launch 'A Jewish Book of Comfort'

website photo small

Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh, Dean of Leo Baeck College, and Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein, Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue, at their book launch on 19 November at Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue for 'A Jewish Book of Comfort'.

Copies can be purchased from Amazon and John Trotter Books.


More information available from This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Dean, Leo Baeck College

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

Autumn edition of e-news

Download the Autumn edition of e-NewsAutumn edition of e-news

Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh appointed Dean of Leo Baeck College


Rabbi Dr Charles MiddleburghI am delighted to announce that the Board of Governors has approved the appointment of Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh as Dean of Leo Baeck College, responsible for academic and student affairs.

Charles joined the College faculty in 1984.  Over many years he has taken on a wide range of roles and responsibilities. He has served as the Director of Studies at the College for the past three years. 

Charles is a graduate of University College London, from which he gained his BA Hons in Semitic languages and his PhD in Targumic Studies. He was ordained by Leo Baeck College in 1986.  In addition to his academic achievements, Charles has contributed to and edited a number of key Progressive Jewish publications. 

As well as being an accomplished teacher and academic, within the realms of the College, Charles is a voice of wisdom and the go-to person for students and staff alike when in need of support, compassion or some insightful, sound advice. 

On behalf of the Board of Governors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Charles for his unstinting commitment to both the students and the work of the College.  We wish him well in his new post and look forward to continuing to build on the strong foundations that he has helped to secure for Leo Baeck College, its students and staff. 



Noeleen sig

Noeleen Cohen


Leo Baeck College Lehrhaus 2014-2015: Home of Jewish Learning


Leo Baeck College Lehrhaus 2014-2015: Home of Jewish Learning

Sign up today to feed your enthusiasm for Progressive Jewish Learning. A desire to discover yourself in Judaism and Judaism in yourself is all you will need to study with us. All the courses are taught by the College's faculty. Our teachers are both passionate about their subject and deeply knowledgeable.

On offer this year are:

Biblical Hebrew with Dr Alinda Damsma
Tuesday 14 October to Tuesday 9 December 2014 at 7.30 pm to 9.15 pm

Tuesday 27 January to Tuesday 24 March 2015 at 7.30 pm to 9.15 pm
For full details about this course and how to register

Concepts of Kabbalah with Rabbi Larry Tabick
8 session course - Tuesday 14 October to Tuesday 2 December 2014 at 7.30 pm to 9.15pm
(Please note that there is no session on 18 November)
For full details about this course and how to register

Two courses in Jewish Sacred Music with Dr Annette Boeckler
Life Cycle – the musical and liturgical perspective
Wednesday 22 October to Wednesday 10 December 2014 at 7.45 pm to 9.15pm

High Holidays – nusach, melodies and texts
Wednesday 4 February to Wednesday 25 March 2015 at 7.45 pm to 9.15pm
For full details about this course and how to register

Bible Stories for Grown-Ups with Rabbi Professor Jonathan Magonet
Thursday 30 October to Thursday 20 November 2014 at 7.45 pm to 9.15pm
For full details about this course and how to register

Building fences, opening doors: Status in Jewish Tradition with Rabbi Josh Levy
10 November to 1 December  2014 at 7.45 pm to 9.15 pm
For full details about this course information and how to register

Spinoza's Jewish Philosophy with Rabbi Mark L Solomon
Tuesday 3 to 24 February 2015
For full details about this course and how to register

Introduction to Midrash with Rabbi Colin Eimer
March 2015 
Information and dates to follow

Download the publicity flyer from here


Learn with us!

Learn with Leo Baeck College this year! Download our new prospectus from here

Rabbinic ordination Sunday 6th July 2014

ordination 2014Leo Baeck College held its annual Ordination ceremony on Sunday 6th July 2014. The service, at which three new rabbis from the College were ordained, was held for the first time at Edgware & District Reform Synagogue and witnessed by a packed congregation.

The three new rabbis are Rabbi Dr René Pfertzel, who will divide his time between his congregation in Lyons, France, and Finchley Progressive Synagogue, Rabbi Dr Kate Briggs, who has already taken up a position at Glasgow Reform Synagogue and Rabbi Julia Grishchenko who will continue to do much needed and valued work with her community in Odessa, Ukraine.

The 2014 Ordination had an added dimension in that Rabbi Alexander Dukhovny, Chief Rabbi to the Progressive Jews of Kyiv and Ukraine and an alumnus of Leo Baeck, ordained Rabbi Grishchenko in Russian, the first time this had happened in the College’s fifty eight year history. On being ordained, Rabbi Grishchenko said: “I have known for 20 years that I wanted to be a Rabbi. Today is a day of great transformation in my life. I am deeply committed to my community in Odessa and to ensuring that like me, they can live truly inclusive, Progressive Jewish lives today and tomorrow.”

Leo Baeck College is extremely proud of its three new Rabbis who will undoubtedly provide leadership and strength to the communities in which they will serve.

Leo Baeck College is a preeminent institution of Jewish scholarship and learning that is open to all. At Leo Baeck College we combine inspirational, high calibre teaching with a commitment to enriching the intellectual and spiritual lives of the Progressive Jewish Community.


Parashat Balak


Dr Laliv Clenman thinks about food and sex at the end of parashat Balak.

The Torah has many references to food sources in Israel, but in parashat Balak the non-Israelite prophet Balaam claims that the people of Israel are actually like food sources:  'palm-groves that stretch out' (the source of dates) and 'gardens beside a river' (the source of fruits and vegetables). Local food production is inextricably bound up with the identity of this land and its inhabitants, and in this spirit we are proud of our work in Leket Israel's designated fields. - More information from here


Highlights from the Leo Baeck College Ordination Ceremony on Sunday 6 July 2014

LBC ordination highlights 1 from LBC College on Vimeo.


A career in Jewish Education

Would you like to be a Head Teacher of a Religion School?

Are you looking to progress in your current job?

Are you involved in youth work?

If so, Leo Baeck College  have two exciting part-time study opportunities in Jewish Education:

BA (Hons) in Jewish Education

MA in Jewish Education

Find out what our current students say about our courses


Page 1 of 2


Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Leo Baeck College Lehrhaus: Home of Jewish Learning

Full details from here

Learn with Leo Baeck College

Full details from here