Following their Annual General Meeting last week, the Governors of Leo Baeck College are pleased to announce that Noeleen Cohen has been appointed as the new Chair. She replaces Alasdair Nisbet who is standing down, having led the board since 2010.
Alasdair said "In my time as Chair we have appointed an exciting and energetic new Principal in Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, created an innovative new Rabbinic training programme, expanded our teaching faculty, improved the engagement with our supporting Movements and reached out to other organisations. I am delighted that Noeleen has agreed to succeed me as Chair of the College. I am sure that she and Deborah will continue to make the College the preeminent place for training Rabbis outside America."
The governors paid tribute to Alasdair’s outstanding contribution over the past 10 years, thanking him for his tireless commitment to the work of the Leo Baeck College in the UK and wider Progressive Jewish world. Alasdair plans to remain very much involved both as a Patron and ambassador for the College.
Noeleen worked extensively in the consumer goods industry as a brand and marketing manager for both local and multi-national companies. As well as lecturing in branding and marketing, Noeleen taught literacy to children and adults in the townships of Johannesburg, where she was born and brought up. She continues her involvement with South Africa through her work with Ikamva La Bantu, an NGO that works to support vulnerable people in deprived township communities.
Noeleen and her family joined Alyth synagogue when they came to London in 1998. Noeleen serves as an honorary officer at Alyth. She is on the board of the Movement for Reform Judaism (MRJ) where she has held the education portfolio for the past three years and is due to step down shortly. This has been in addition to her role as a governor of Leo Baeck College since 2011. She is also on the board of PaJeS (Partnership for Jewish Education in Schools) as a representative for the UJIA.
Noeleen said: “Working with Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris and the board and getting to know the students and faculty has been extremely gratifying. Through this work, I am constantly reminded of the importance of the College to the Progressive Jewish Communities in the UK and Europe. We will build on the work that Alasdair set in motion and ensure that we continue to train inspirational Rabbis and Jewish Educators for future generations.”