Charity volunteers, entrepreneurs and Holocaust survivors are among the Jewish recipients of New Year’s Honours announced today.
Jenny Abramsky, former director of BBC audio and music, is created a dame for services to broadcasting. Currently chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund, she said: “I'm thrilled because I believe this honour recognises the importance of radio in this country.”
She was made a CBE in 2001. Her father, Chimen, was a renowned professor of Jewish studies, and her mother, Miriam, a leading social worker.
Charlotte Michaels, a 91-year-old great-grandmother, has been made an MBE in recognition of her charity work in North London.
Born in Danzig, Poland, in 1917, Mrs Michaels came to Britain in 1935 after fleeing the Nazis. She became a leading volunteer, giving her time to charities including the League of Jewish Women, the Council of Christian and Jews and Macmillan Cancer Support.
With her late husband, Michael, she became a member of Hendon Reform Synagogue in 1949.
Mrs Michaels said: “Honestly, I’m embarrassed by all this. There are so many people who deserve it more. But it is an honour that a refugee should be given an award like this.”
Stanley Cundle is made MBE in recognition of more than 40 years’ service to the Jewish community in Leeds.
He is vice-chair of the Zone youth club, served as head of the Community Security Trust for Leeds and Yorkshire, and as chair of the Makor organisation was also a founder of the Leeds Jewish International Performing Arts Festival.
“It’s come out of the blue and is a real surprise. If it wasn’t for my wife, Beverley, who drives me on and keeps me from getting bored, I’d be sitting in a deckchair in Spain,” said Mr Cundle.
Marilyn Lazarus, 68, is made MBE for voluntary service to the Jewish Association for the Mentally Ill.
She helped establish JAMI in 1989 and has since served on its executive committee and worked in its charity shops.
Mrs Lazarus said: “When we set up JAMI there was absolutely nothing in the Jewish community for people with mental illnesses. It was the JC which wrote the first story about us, and that helped people to come forward.
“We now have a day centre looking after more than 100 people a week and a residential home. It’s nice for the charity to get some recognition.”
Nadia Conway, a member of the New North London Synagogue, is made an MBE for services to the NHS and the North London community.
Mrs Conway was raised in Czechoslovakia but moved to England in 1968 and began volunteering for health organisations and children’s charities. She is a former mayor of Enfield, North London and a governor of Wolfson-Hillel School.
With her husband, David, she is restoring a Jewish cemetery in East Slovakia and has initiated an international music festival in Levoca.
She said: “I was very surprised and pleased because obviously you do not look to get something like this, but it’s nice there is an appreciation of the work.
“I have had ME for a long time and have had to stop the day-to-day work I used to do.”
Gerry Ells, 88-year-old five time world veterans’ tennis champion, is made MBE for his services to the sport.
Mr Ells, a Burma war veteran, plays in tournaments around the world and in 2006 was ranked as the world number two player aged over 85.
He has represented Britain seven times, including as captain on three occasions. He hopes to compete in the over 90’s category from 2010.
Mr Ells, who trains at Queen’s Club in West London, said he was “honoured” to receive the award.
Shoah survivor Arek Hersh, from Leeds, is made MBE for services to Holocaust education. Jenny Arwas is made MBE for charitable services.
A member of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in West London, Mrs Arwas is a volunteer for the Prince's Trust, a non-executive director of Employment Opportunities and a supporter of the Chickenshed theatre company.
She said: “I have always tried to focus on young people and giving people a chance. I got involved with the Prince’s Trust more than 15 years ago and began fundraising for them.This is a huge surprise. I never expected anything like this.”
Captain Samuel Judah is made MBE for services to business and the community in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Hugh Taylor, chairman of Visit England, is made OBE for services to hospitality and tourism.
The Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue member will step down from his role with Visit England in March after six years.
He said: “I am overwhelmed by this honour; two in one family is just wonderful. I am very proud of all that has been achieved in the organisation.”
His father, Derek Taylor, received the same honour two years ago. Among others made OBE are Gail Sackloff, former merchandise director for Saks Fifth Avenue, for services to fashion exports; Judith Serota, for services to the Spitalfields Festival.
Judge Geoffrey Kamil is made CBE for services to the administration of justice.