Rabbi says farewell after 44 years at North London congregation

Reform members old and new turn out for final service of Rabbi Steven Katz at Edgware and Hendon


After 44 years in the pulpit at Hendon Reform Synagogue - and more recently, at the merged Edgware and Hendon Reform congregation - Rabbi Steven Katz retired on Shabbat.

Before a packed congregation, bolstered by many former HRS members, he spoke with pride about his lengthy service to the shul, which was founded by his father, Rabbi Dr Arthur Katz.  

He joined Hendon as associate rabbi, taking the lead role after his father was involved in a serious road accident.

Rabbi Katz said he had learned from his teachers - but even more from his congregants - how to be a better Jew and make Judaism relevant to contemporary society.

In his valedictory article in the EHRS magazine, he wrote that he had been tasked with the responsibility to bring the “wisdom and values of Judaism to our understanding of momentous global and national events”.

During his ministry, there had been many conflicts and natural disasters on which a Jewish response was required.

He had been frustrated by “the need to respond constantly to the recrudescence of rampant antisemitism”.

Within his congregation, Rabbi Katz was noted for his wisdom, humour, compassion and empathy.

He has chaired the Assembly of Reform Rabbis and served on Barnet’s Council's Sacre committee, which helps to regulate the teaching of religious faiths throughout the borough.

In 1999, he was a finalist in The Times' Preacher of the Year contest.

He plans to continue his pastoral duties, visiting the housebound, and engage in teaching, mental health awareness and Holocaust education.

Edgware and Hendon's new senior rabbi will be Mark Goldsmith, who joins the congregation in March from Alyth Reform in Golders Green.

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