United Hebrew Congregation, Leeds
Rabbi Levy has been with the 1,200-member UHC for almost nine years, following six years with the Cardiff community and a spell as youth director at Golders Green Synagogue. His semichah is from Gateshead and he has BA and MA degrees from Jews’ College. He also holds qualifications in counselling and mediation training and has written short stories for children and many articles on contemporary Jewish thought. He and his wife Naomi have four children aged three to 10
Tell us about a typical week
The chazan and I aim to visit three families a week at home in addition to any ad-hoc visiting that is required, such as to the sick and Donisthorpe Hall for the aged. I have an “in-reach” slot once a week when I meet members in my office by prior arrangement to discuss any matter they wish. Thorough preparation of all shiurim and discussions is essential. I am available six days a week. Tuesdays are always taken as a day off — an imperative for a successful rabbinate and to spend time with family. I am also involved in wider communal work, often advising behind the scenes, and have a close working relationship with lay leaders at UHC and other shuls and organisations. Further roles are being chairman of the Rabbinical Council of the Provinces and a member of the Chief Rabbi’s cabinet.
What do you like most about your role?
Marrying couples is a wonderful thing as it creates kedushah (sanctity). When the chazan and I visit people who are unknown to the community, I remind myself of what the great prophets Isaiah and Amos said about helping the plight of the unfortunate. Ultimately, teaching is the greatest joy. After all, that is what rabbi means.
What do you do with your time-off?
I enjoy DIY and going to the gym. Our shul has raised vast sums for the bone marrow bank Ezer Mizion, I was fortunate to head up its dedicated concert committee. Another team I have been involved in is this month presenting two new Sifrei Torah to the minyan held in the community centre.
Define your Judaism
Fulfilling the will of Hashem as prescribed in the Torah.