Finchley shul: 'It's ours'

By Jennifer Lipman, March 31, 2011

Three months into the role as Finchley Progressive Synagogue minister, Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk feels "blessed to be working with a wonderful community".

Since joining FPS – after working part-time at Westminster Synagogue and a stint at Woodford Progressive – Rabbi Birk has introduced a regular lunch and learn and plans to launch "Shabbatots", a service for children.

She also intends to move religious school lessons from Sundays to Shabbat, as they were at Westminster, and is keen to start a nursery at the shul.

"I think we are missing a trick not having one," she said, adding that she wanted all decisions made with community input. "I want to maintain the equilibrium so that change doesn't bring distress. This is not my synagogue – it's our synagogue."

The mother-of-three, who studied at Bristol and Harvard before undertaking rabbinic training at the Leo Baeck College, wants to make the synagogue a vibrant venue for young families and senior members.

"This area is a rich place in terms of synagogues," she said. "I want ours to be a beacon for Liberal Judaism."

Last updated: 1:43pm, March 31 2011