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Maureen Kendler, a tribute

Rabbi Raphael Zarum, dean of the London School for Jewish Studies, remembers a towering figure in British Jewish life


    Maureen Kendler, the great Jewish educator, passed away this morning, just a few months after getting ill.

    Thousands learnt from Maureen’s many talks and lectures. She was an incredible teacher, a sensitive listener, and a wise counsellor.

    Teaching was in her blood. She inspired many young women when she was on the faculty at North London Collegiate School. Then she was Head of Jewish Literacy at UJIA where she was the star teacher on the Melton Programme.

    Here at LSJS she transformed Adult Jewish Education. She broadcast regularly on BBC Radio. Her love of Torah and literature was infectious, and every year at Limmud Conference, thousands would flock to see her. 

    Maureen was a great enabler. She mentored so many people who have become great Jewish leaders. And she was strident about Jewish women’s voices being heard. She wanted us all to know that our Jewish faith is made up of men AND women and that we must listen and learn from both.

    So if, like me, you miss her desperately, or if you want to know just a little of what Maureen was about, then go on to Google now and type in ‘JDOV Maureen Kendler’. Her 15 minutes speech, entitled ‘52%’, is a masterclass on the power of one voice.

    Anglo-Jewry just lost one of its finest. A smile, a warmth and a depth that will be unforgettable. Maureen quoted widely but, I think, one of her favourites was Alan Bennett’s The History Boys.

    Hector taught his pupils a lesson that Maureen embodied, through every single class she gave, “Pass the parcel. That's sometimes all you can do. Take it, feel it and pass it on. Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day. Pass it on, boys. That's the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.”

    And we will pass it on, as she taught us to do.

    Farewell dearest Maureen.


Did the ark have room for whales?

Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum

Friday, October 20, 2017

Did the ark have room for whales?