Masorti Judaism

Brand New Board for Masorti

Masorti Judaism’s new trustees: Leonie Fleischmann, Laurence Harris, Paul Collin, Simon Samuels, Shirley Fenster, Bruce Rigal, Ben Russell, Miri Benchetrit, James Burns

Following the implementation of a sweeping governance review, Masorti Judaism has elected a brand new board of trustees to lead the movement.

The new trustees are:

  • Co-chairs Shirley Fenster and Simon Samuels.  Shirley is a member of Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogue, a board member of Masorti Europe, and the first woman to head the UK movement in over ten years. Simon is a former managing director at Barclays Investment Bank and is a recent co-chair of St Albans Masorti Synagogue.
  • Two former Mazkirim (directors) of Noam, Masorti youth, Dr Leonie Fleischmann and Ben Russell. Leonie is a lecturer in international politics at City University and Ben is head of strategy and partnerships in the National Cyber Crime Unit at the National Crime Agency.
  • Miri Benchetrit, previously chief executive of the Rothschild Foundation Europe and now director of the Westbury Group, a network of the major international Jewish trusts and foundations operating in Europe.
  • Bruce Rigal, former global COO of Deutsche Bank’s human resources division, and director of the Future of Financial Services Initiative at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business; Bruce is also a   member of New North London Synagogue.
  • Laurence Harris, a former co-chair of St Albans Masorti Synagogue and of Masorti Judaism’s forerunner, the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues; Laurence is a partner at Cooley LLP.
  • James Burns – runs his own IT business and is co-founder of Jedi News, the UK’s biggest Star Wars fan site.
  • Paul Collin, a retired accountant and member of Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogue, who has taken on the role of treasurer.

Bruce Rigal said, “I’m excited to be part of the new board of Masorti Judaism. Masorti is a small but fast-growing part of the Jewish community.  Our members contribute a huge amount to tikkun olam [social justice, lit. ‘repairing the world’] and I want to support that contribution.  As a movement with progressive views that operates within a traditional, halachic framework, I believe we have the ability to act as a bridge for doing good across the entire Jewish community.”

Leonie Fleischmann commented: “Having grown up in Noam – the Masorti youth movement – and as a founding member of the new Havurah community, I’m excited to help the Masorti movement attract and support individuals who are looking to be involved outside of traditional synagogue structures. I want to use my experience to improve the links between young people, our synagogues and the movement as a whole.”

Matt Plen, Chief Executive of Masorti Judaism, added: “Masorti is bucking the trend of shrinking UK synagogue membership by continuing to welcome new members into our warm, inclusive communities, where they can develop their own relationship with Judaism.  I’m proud that we now have a strong Board with all the skills needed to build on this record and to ensure Masorti continues as the fastest-growing mainstream Jewish denomination in the UK.” 

Laurence Harris, former co-chair of the movement who is returning to the board after a ten year absence, said: “I am delighted to be returning as a trustee after many years absence.  It is good to see the organisation immeasurably strengthened, and I look forward to contributing to Masorti's exciting growth and development.”

Posted on 11 October 2017

This blog aims to provide articles of interest on the weekly parashah and issues in Masorti Judaism, representing the full range of diverse views that exist among Masorti members. For guidance on any of the issues raised, please consult your rabbi.

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