Leading Federation rabbi dies

By Simon Rocker, January 30, 2014

One of the UK's most respected rabbis, Dayan Gershon Lopian, of the Federation of Synagogues, has died today, aged 73.

Historian of British Jewry Geoffrey Alderman said that he was “one of the leading halachists in this country, who was significant in raising and ensuring the Federation’s credentials internationally.

“He was a great preacher and very approachable.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said that Dayan Lopian was "a truly outstanding spiritual leader. His erudition, warmth and capacity to empathise endeared him to many. The Anglo-Jewish community has lost a very special rabbinic role model, who will be remembered with respect and affection by all who knew him."

Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks said: "Dayan Lopian was a fine, warm and deeply dedicated spiritual leader of his congregation, much loved as much for his humanity as for his great learning. He knew how to relate to people; his approach to halachah was wise and well-judged; he was an exceptional pastoral rabbi also, a friend and mentor to many.

"We will miss his wry humour, and his ability to smile in the midst of pain. No one who knew him will ever forget him. I personally have lost a dear, beloved friend."

Board of Deputies president Vivian Wineman said that the death "of this most eminent daya who combined deep learning with a warm and kindly personality is a sore blow not just for the Federation but for the global Jewish community. We have lost a leading light in UK Jewry."

Dayan Lopian retired as rabbi of the Federation’s Yeshurun Synagogue in Edgware after 30 years’ service there in 2006.

He will be buried tomorrow [Friday] in Edmonton, London.

Last updated: 6:18pm, February 3 2014