Rabbi Michael Foulds
New Essex Masorti Synagogue
Rabbi Foulds came to the ministry late in life after a long career in accountancy, having run a practice and spent many years working in accountancy governance bodies at national and international level. His OBE in 1996 recognises services to accountancy. He took early retirement in 2002 to study for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College and received his semichah in 2007. He and his wife Ruth have four adult children and one grandchild
Tell us about your synagogue
New Essex Masorti is a young, vibrant, friendly and growing Masorti community centred in Buckhurst Hill.
Tell us about a typical week
There is really no such thing. While there are always sermons to write, study sessions to be prepared, and my regular teaching at our cheder, the weeks vary in terms of NEMS’s community activities, pastoral visits and conversations, and involvement with outside bodies. There may be meetings of local faith and police groups, activities relating to my involvement with other local synagogues, our local Jewish primary schools, and local charities.
What do you like most about your role?
One thing I enjoy particularly is the contrast between my current role and my previous one as accountant in practice. Surprisingly, perhaps, there are similarities in that both involve engaging with people, their lives and problems. But as a rabbi, that engagement is more intense and, I hope, of greater value. I share the joys and sorrows of the life cycles of my congregants and am privileged to travel with them their different spiritual, life and learning journeys.
What do you do with your time off?
It is spent with Ruth, our family, and friends. We have recently taken up gardening, and both enjoy reading, music, opera, and some tele-vision. We enjoy our holidays in Cornwall walking the cliff paths. I also enjoy chazanut and have quite a respectable collection of recordings.
Define your Judaism
Judaism is life and how to live it in relation with God.