Liberal rabbi returns to West Country role

Three Counties Community welcomes back Gloucester-based Anna Gerrard


Rabbi Anna Gerrard (front row, centre) with guests at the service to mark her return

Faith leaders and civic representatives joined a Shabbat service in Gloucester on Saturday to celebrate the return of Rabbi Anna Gerrard as lead rabbi of the Three Counties Liberal Jewish Community.

The 180-strong community was formed in 2018 from the amalgamation of Liberal groups in Gloucester and Hereford and also covers Jews in Worcestershire.

After ministering for 10 years, Rabbi Gerrard left four years ago to become Jewish chaplain at Clifton College in Bristol, which had a Jewish boarding house for more than a century but still has a number of Jewish students.

MP Richard Graham and the deans of Gloucester and Hereford cathedrals, the Reverend Canon Sarah Brown and the Reverend Canon Andrew Zihni, were among the 50 people who came for the service and Shabbat lunch.

Mark Walton, chair of the Three Counties community, said, “We wanted to celebrate how far our small community has come and share a little bit of our culture with our friends and neighbours. We already have excellent relationships with a number of faith communities across the three counties. This service was an opportunity to build further new ones.”

Rabbi Gerrard said, “This community has been a part of my life and my family’s life for many years. It was good for me to take on different challenges and learn from other branches of the Jewish community, but I am delighted to be returning to this role.

“The community is still thriving and growing, with members of all ages and Jewish backgrounds. It is a Jewish home for so many people and I am proud to serve them once again.”

She will remain as a chaplain at Clifton, teaching bar- and batmitzvah students and taking some services.

But a new Jewish life co-ordinator, Shelley Braude, has been appointed by the boarding school to run daily services, Friday night dinner and other educational and cultural activities for Jewish students at Clifton. She is a member of the city’s Orthodox synagogue in Park Row.

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