Shul staffer sacked for not being 'part of community'


The non-Jewish theatrical director of a Golders Green synagogue has been shocked by his dismissal for not being "a part of the community".

Simon Rawlings - an acting tutor at the famous Sylvia Young Theatre School - worked for the youth drama programme, Academy, for the Alyth Reform congregation for 14 years.

Mr Rawlings said he was informed of the shul's decision by email. "It was all a bit of a shock after 14 years. I asked for clarification and the rabbis said it was 'to link participation in Academy and recruitment for it within the synagogue'."

Music director Viv Bellos ran the Academy programme until it was transferred to the youth department in May. She said Mr Rawlings had "not done anything wrong" and that her email telling him of the decision was "the hardest I've ever had to write. It's really sad. He was a great director, but he wasn't part of the community. He couldn't be part of the Shabbat service and chat to the parents. The whole team felt it needed to be someone who was visible at High Holy-Days, that sort of thing. Nobody would recognise Simon unless they were in the academy.

"It's so difficult because I really respect what Simon's done."

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive