Manchester Reform Synagogue
Minister of his congregation for 30 years, Rabbi Silverman trained at Leo Baeck College and is an honorary teaching fellow in modern Jewish thought at Manchester University. He holds diplomas in counselling and its supervision, and has authored a book on the philosopher Baruch Spinoza. He is married to Isobel Braidman, senior lecturer in medicine at Manchester University, and the couple have three adult sons and a granddaughter
Tell us about your family life
Our family all live away from Manchester, and one has made aliyah. Our leisure priority is to maximise our time with them, especially our new granddaughter. Isobel leads a very active professional life but enjoys singing in the shul choir. We share several interests, particularly theatre and opera.
Tell us about a typical week
It revolves around Shabbat. The rest of the time is spent attending to the varied needs of members, planning and preparing events, counselling and teaching adults and children.
Tell us what you like most about your role
It is a great privilege to be so intimately involved with people’s Jewish lives from birth to death. I get a big buzz out of seeing bar- and batmitzvahs do well. Even greater, years later, officiating at their marriages. Being a rabbi has given me interesting outside opportunities such as teaching university students, interfaith work and broadcasting on national radio. Being a rabbi is more than a job for me. It is integral to my identity and is the fulfilment of a childhood vocation.
What do you do with your time off?
I like learning modern languages and using them abroad. My wife and I are keen ornithologists and enjoy travelling, especially to Israel for birdwatching as well as to see our Israeli son. I do voluntary counselling work for charities and am patron of the Brookvale home in Manchester.
Define your Judaism
Constantly exploring Jewish sources to enrich life in a predominantly secular society.