Manchester stalwart Olsberg dies

August 1, 2008

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has led the numerous tributes to long-serving Manchester minister Rev Leslie Olsberg, who died on Sunday, aged 86.

Mr Olsberg was minister of Heaton Park Hebrew Congregation for 36 years and was chaplain to a range of organisations. His MBE in 2007 recognised 60 years' service to the Manchester community.

He was admitted to North Manchester General Hospital, where he died, after breaking his hip last week. Nurses attempted to contact the Jewish chaplain only to discover that Mr Olsberg still held that role.

Over 400 people were at the funeral in North Manchester on Sunday. Police stopped traffic for the funeral procession, which left from the house of Mr Olsberg's daughter Frances, who had been caring for him and whom he had recently nominated for a Norwood carers' award.

In a written tribute, Rabbi Sacks described the minister as a man "of gentle ways, combined with unshakeable principle" and "a living model of Jewish faith and practice.

"His last years were difficult. He lost his wife; he suffered serious illness; there were times when it was hard for him to carry on. Yet even then he was the Rev Olsberg we all knew and loved."

His nephew Elchonon Cohen told the JC: "Every person in the Greater Manchester community was like his family. He's irreplaceable."

Last updated: 4:46pm, July 22 2009