Anglo-Jewry pays tribute to champion of small communities, Malcolm Weisman

Malcolm Weisman spent decades visiting rural Jewish communities across the United Kingdom, even into his 90s


Malcolm Weisman with Geraldine Auerbach (Photo: Geraldine Auerbach)

Reverend Malcolm Weisman, the chief rabbi’s dedicated Minister for Small Communities and widely respected champion of the rural Anglo-Jewry, has passed away at the age of 93.

Weisman's remarkable life story, spanning his work as an RAF chaplain, barrister, and minister, was chronicled in his autobiography, A Wing and A  Prayer, released last year. The book offers a glimpse into the extraordinary journey of a man dedicated to fostering spiritual and social connections in the often overlooked corners of British Jewish life.

Born in 1936, Weisman was an Oxford graduate and qualified lawyer who, in later life, became vice-president of the Jewish Music Institute (JMI), and trustee of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ).

Sir Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, posted on X: “Together with countless others, I consider it a deep privilege to have known and respected Reverend Malcolm Weisman z’l. His selfless, devoted, and caring pastoral work in numerous communities enriched and strengthened Jewish life and brought so many people to deepen their Jewish awareness and be proud of their Jewish roots.

“Reverend Malcolm Weisman was without any doubt a one-off. An extraordinary, unique, and truly wonderful human being to whom British Jewry will forever be deeply indebted. May his memory be for an eternal blessing.”

Geraldine Auerbach MBE, Weisman’s friend who helped him produce his memoir, said: “I am so glad that he has told his amazing and special life story in A Wing and A Prayer and that he was present with 200 guests when [his friend] Nitza Spiro organised a launch at his synagogue. There were also people online from small communities all over the country paying tribute to his energy, kindness and skill in guiding them on meaningful Jewish journeys.”

Jewish Small Communities Network posted: “It was a privilege to have known Rev Malcolm Weisman z’l. He was always planning another trip to visit a small community, right up till the end... He will be missed by so many. May his memory be for a blessing.”

The Council of Christians and Jews paid tribute to Weisman’s “energy and vision for dialogue between faiths,”

Even at 90 years old, Weisman would visit the small island Jewish community of Jersey.

Weisman’s son, Brian, attested to his father's indispensable role in sustaining small communities. Speaking when his father launched his book, he said: "If it hadn't been for my dad being appointed by the Chief Rabbi to look after small communities, a lot of these communities wouldn’t now exist."

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