Radlett women on honours board
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Gill Stella and Elaine Tarsh
Although a trail-blazer in advancing the role of women in Orthodox synagogue life, Radlett shul has hitherto not formally honoured them.
So it was a first when a presentation ceremony was held to recognise the contribution of Elaine Tarsh and Gill Stella to the community.
Described as "one of the secret heroes" of the congregation, Mrs Tarsh was actively involved in its Community Care programme for some years, before taking charge in 2009. She has also organised themed kiddushim and helps with the local Project Chesed.
In 2001, Mrs Stella became the first female vice-chair of a United Synagogue community. As well as serving on the board, she has been on two rabbinical selection committees.
She has also sought to maximise participation in Radlett's religious activities and was a founder and leading light of its women's megillah group, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary.
Accepting the awards for both recipients, Mrs Stella said: "Elaine and I are very conscious that we are receiving this on behalf of all the women who work so hard for the community. This is a great community and I love being a member of it."
However, it angered her that "within the US, we are still in the unacceptable position that a woman cannot chair the board of management of a shul and there are no women trustees on the board of the United Synagogue itself."
Radlett chair Andy Katz hoped the awards would become a regular event "as we know that the terrific work of Radlett's women extends beyond the two being honoured".