More than 100 people attended an event in Oxford to mark the 50th anniversary of Reverend Malcolm Weisman, the minister for small communities.
Since his appointment in 1963, Rev Weisman has travelled across the UK, serving small Jewish communities from Jersey to Canterbury, Stoke-on-Trent and Kent.
Congregants and guests from across the country flocked to the celebratory event to pay tribute to Rev Weisman, who has also worked with university students, the armed forces and prison services.
“People came from all over the UK,” said Rev Weisman. “I was very touched. One elderly couple even shlepped all the way to Oxford from the south-coast and back again for the event. I couldn’t believe it. There was even a choir and they played Adon Olam in the style of Bach — my favourite composer. They also sang songs about my life on the road — it was fantastic.”
John Dunston, a member of the Oxford Jewish Congregation, orchestrated the event. He said: “Rev Weisman deserved no less. We wouldn’t survive without him.”
Oxford-based Brian Fidler added: “Rev Weisman has been a beacon of light — sharing warmth, encouragement and a sense of belonging to towns where the Jewish community is measured in dozens, not hundreds or thousands.”
Rev Weisman added: “Mainstream Jewry doesn’t appreciate that you can have a positive Jewish life in a small community with only 10 people.
“I shall keep going until I drop.”