A headteacher, a rabbi, an Oxford professor and charity fundraisers have been recognised in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List.
Helen Hyde, headmistress of Watford Grammar School for Girls for more than 20 years and fellow of Holocaust education at the Imperial War Museum, has been made a dame for her services to education. Mrs Hyde lost family members in the Sobibor concentration camp and dedicates her time to educating people on the realities of the Holocaust. Co-vice chair of the Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue, she intends to continue promoting education about the Holocaust throughout her various roles. “Becoming a dame hasn’t changed anything.”
Receiving a knighthood for his charitable services was a “surprise” for Michael Heller, a renowned philanthropist who supports the London Jewish Cultural Centre among many other organisations.
Professor Raymond Dwek, who co-chairs the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, has been awarded a CBE for his services to UK-Israel scientific collaboration. The Oxford University professor of glycobiology has initiated collaborative work on water development and biotechnology with both Israelis and Palestinians. “I’ve always believed that science is a force of peace. It makes such a difference and plays an important role in dialogue,” he said.
Choreographer Arlene Phillips said she was very surprised and felt “immense pride” to be made CBE for services to dance and charities, having already received an OBE. “After I was let go from Strictly Come Dancing, I decided to put all my energy into giving back,” Ms Phillips explained. “Growing up, every Friday we used to put whatever money we had – and we didn’t have much – into the JNF box.” Ms Phillips continues to champion the value of dance, especially in schools.
The young American-born founder of education programme Teach First has received an OBE. Brett Wigdortz, 39, comes from a family of teachers and believes that “addressing educational disadvantage is an extremely important part of Jewish culture.” New Jersey-born Mr Wigdortz, who has lived in Israel and became a British citizen four years ago, said: “I didn’t know I was eligible for this huge honour, given to one person for the work of the 4,000 teachers we have on the programme who work in the classrooms every day.”
David Kustow, former chair of UK Jewish Film, was awarded an OBE for services to film in the UK and his role in achieving the British/Israeli film co-operation treaty. Mr Kustow, who practised law for more than 35 years and has a “passion” for film, said he was attempting “to mend a hole in cultural relations between the UK and Israel” and produce three feature films with a Jewish dimension. “It’s a work in progress,” he said.
Daniel Salbstein was awarded an OBE for services promoting UK/Russia mutual understanding. The former chairman of the Great Britain-Russia Society was “very honoured and very humbled” to receive the award in “recognition of what I and others have helped achieve.”
Leslie Morgan has received an OBE for services to the pharmaceutical industry and to charity. Mr Morgan, a patron of Chai, World Jewish Relief and Magen David Adom, said he was “proud” of his philanthropic work, that includes “finding an excess of medical supplies that are still in date and distributing them to international Jewish and non-Jewish charities” — amounting to more than £20 million of donated stock. Mr Morgan is an Elder of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue.
Rabbi Herschel Gluck, founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum, was “very humbled” to receive an OBE for services to interfaith understanding. “It’s great encouragement for all those people who are building bridges and relationships with other communities. It says a lot about all the good work that is happening in the Jewish and Muslim communities to help enhance contact and build a better Britain. We work together, not only to prevent negative issues, but build a positive relationship on issues of mutual concern — including shechita and brit milah.”
Professor Penny Ur, 69, of Moshav Amnon, in northern Israel, was awarded an OBE for exceptional work in English teaching. The British-born academic, who studied at Oxford, visited Israel as a student and subsequently devoted her career to developing the teaching of English around the world.
An OBE was awarded to Pauline Etkin for her services to music therapy. The South-African born chief executive of Nordoff Robbins, a music therapy charity, said she accepted the honour “on behalf of all Nordoff Robbins’ clients and their carers, our therapists and staff, our generous supporters and all those in the music therapy profession.”
Auschwitz survivor Mayer Hersh was honoured as an MBE for decades of work in the field of Holocaust education. Now living in Manchester, Mr Hersh was one of two members of his extended family who survived the Shoah, and was sent to nine different concentration camps during the Holocaust. For years, he has toured schools and other locations speaking about his experiences. “I’m very, very, pleased,” said Mr Hersh. “It means a lot, it is recognition of all the work I have done. Occasions like this don’t happen every minute, they are once in a lifetime.”
Also honoured with an MBE was Stamford Hill librarian Zvi Rabin, 65, who founded the Lubavitch lending library 40 years ago. He said: “We had a small cupboard with some old tatty books, now we have about 18,000. All Lubavitch centres have a library but ours is generally considered one of the best.”
Manchester businessman Philip Shapiro, who stepped down as chair of the Cornerhouse arts centre last year after 14 years in the role, was given an MBE. Mr Shapiro, 68, said: “Most of the achievements have not been mine. This is a huge achievement for everyone who works at Cornerhouse. It’s now such an important part of Manchester’s cultural life.” He was celebrating the news on holiday in Israel, where one of his children and two of his five grandchildren live.
Joy Moss, the longtime chair of Jewish Child’s Day, was awarded an MBE for services to charitable giving and disadvantaged children in the UK and abroad. Founded in 1947, JCD works to support Jewish children suffering from physical and emotional disabilities, abuse and financial hardship. The mother-of-two is married to the JCD treasurer, Stephen Moss — who was himself awarded a CBE in 2002 — and attends West London Synagogue.
Dr Karen Liebreich has been awarded an MBE for services to education and horticulture in West London. Dr Liebreich, whose parents lived in Israel, campaigned to save the Chiswick House Kitchen Garden, “which was quite a battle against unimaginative authorities who wanted to turn the beautiful 17th century space into a car park for corporate entertainment.”
Bushey United Synagogue member David Arnold received an MBE for services to the criminal justice system. Mr Arnold is the former chairman of Resource, a Jewish employment advice centre.
A BEM was awarded to Joan Villiers for charitable services in Yorkshire and Humberside through Sports Aid and Heart Research UK. Mrs Villiers is a member of the Beth Hamidrash Hagadol Synagogue in Leeds and also supports Jewish charities including Wizo.
Hilary Craft, the founder of Action Against Cancer, has been awarded a BEM for services to charity. Ms Craft, a member of the Heaton Park Hebrew Congregation in Manchester and supporter of Jewish charities including JNF and Wizo, said: “It is my dream that cancer will no longer be terminal – with all the groundbreaking research going on, I really believe it will happen one day.”
Dr Arnold Phelops is the former national chairman of Ajex and has supported multiple organisations from Great Ormond Street Hospital to Rotary. Dr Phelops said receiving a BEM “means a great deal because it’s about my charitable work over the last 40 years.” Dr Phelops, now Ajex vice president responsible for education, is a former dental surgeon who served in the Royal Army Dental Corps in the 1950s. After a knee operation in May this year, he completed a “fun” charity walk for Ajex.
Helen Maria Lerner was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to community. Ms Lerner was honoured for her role running a monthly gardening group through the Walthamstow Village Residents Association that has won London in Bloom and has been a finalist for Britain in Bloom. She is "very, very pleased and very surprised indeed" and says the medal "is to be shared with all the people in my gardening group".
Among those made CBE were David Goldstone for services to the financial administration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Dr Peter Ruback, a former civil servant, was also awarded a CBE for services to council housing reform.
Those who were made an OBE include Dr Lisa Appignanesi for services to literature and Dr Rodney Berman, former Liberal Democrat leader of Cardiff Council, who was made an OBE for services to local government and the community.