Honours for producer Codron, author Horowitz and FA’s Bernstein


An American rabbi, a theatre producer, a writer and the former Football Association chairman have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.

Michael Codron has been awarded a knighthood. Sir Michael, 82, is London’s longest-serving producer. The owner of the Aldwych Theatre, and a former senior figure at the Hampstead Theatre and National Theatre, he received the award for services to theatre.

He is most famous for the risk he took 52 years ago on a then virtually unknown playwright called Harold Pinter, who had written a play called The Birthday Party. Codron once told the JC that it was “our mutual Jewishness” that helped him recognise the play’s and Pinter’s worth.

Sir Michael has put on more than 200 shows since he started producing in 1956. He is honorary vice-president of the Society of London Theatre.

Anthony Horowitz, 58, received an OBE for services to literature. Mr Horowitz, originally from Stanmore, has sold over 16 million books in the English language alone in his 34-year-old career — his most recent bestseller is the Sherlock Holmes story, House of Silk. His popular Alex Rider children’s spy series is now a film franchise.

He took to Twitter to voice his excitement at the award: “At last! After weeks of restraint, I can tweet that I’ve been given an OBE. What a great end to the year.”

David Bernstein received a CBE for services to football after a 20-year career in the game as former chairman of the FA, Manchester City and Wembley Stadium. He said the honour “came out of the blue — I was really surprised”.

The New North London Synagogue-member, and Finchley-based chartered accountant, said he has retained his “passion for Man City” since 1956, when he watched on TV as City beat Birmingham in the the FA Cup, despite it being the afternoon of his barmitzvah.

In 2012, he attended a tour of Yad Vashem with England football manager Roy Hodgson and visited Auschwitz with the England squad. “Because it’s football, we can raise awareness of the Holocaust, and I’m very pleased we did that,” he said.

Hertfordshire-based businessman Robert Voss, the founder and managing director of metal traders Voss International, which operates in more than 65 countries, received a CBE for services to British industry and voluntary services to the UK.

Mr Voss, a leading metals expert, co-judged the JC Young Entrepreneurs Challenge in 2013. The 60-year-old grandfather said he was “surprised to receive the honour, and further surprised that it was a CBE and not an OBE or BEM. When the letter arrived, I remember asking my wife, what’s a commander?”

Nottinghamshire-based Dr James Smith, co-founder and president of the UK’s National Holocaust Centre and the Aegis Trust for genocide prevention, received a CBE for services to Holocaust education and genocide prevention.

Dr Smith, 44, who is not Jewish, said: “It’s a massive privilege to receive this honour. However, this is a wonderful recognition of the two charities, and the many people who have worked to make them successful.”

Mill Hill Synagogue-member Martin Kolton, chairman of the Central Training Group, which runs hair-cutting courses, received an MBE for services to the hairdressing industry and particularly youth training.

The father of three said he took up an apprenticeship at the age of 16 “thinking I would try it for a year. If I didn’t like it, I would go back to school and become an architect. I’m glad I didn’t go back! It’s an inspiring industry”.

Conservative councillor Alan Weinberg was “over the moon” to receive a MBE for services to education and the Redbridge community. Cllr Weinberg, 67, a former London taxi driver for 36 years, said it was “strange to get an award for something you love doing”.

Philip Brandeis, the founder of the Chaverim emergency service in Salford, received a BEM for services to children and young people. He said: “I’m in total shock and very humbled. I hope this inspires people to fulfil their potential in life.”

Israel-born Zeev Aram received an OBE for services to design and architecture. The Wimbledon-based businessman, who was born in Haifa, runs the Aram store in Covent Garden with his daughter Ruth and son Daniel.

Jews were also recognised on the diplomatic and overseas honours list. Isaac Jehuda Schapira received an OBE for services to British interests and charitable work in Israel.

Mr Schapira, whose father Rabbi Abraham Yosef Schapira headed the Agudat Israel party, is said to be the first Israeli from the Charedi community to receive an honour.

He said: “I see this award as a mark of great respect for our community. I have been proud to witness for myself the British government’s warmth and supportive attitude towards our community.”

Harry Shindler, a community volunteer in Rome, received a MBE for services to British veterans and to the community in Italy.

The woman who broke the grief taboo

Shelley Gilbert received a MBE for services to bereaved children and their families through the Grief Encounter Project, which she founded in 2003. Mrs Gilbert, 51, was orphaned aged eight after her father died of a heart attack — her mother had died four years earlier from breast cancer.

She was adopted by her Edgware-based aunt and uncle Belle and Nat Myers – but grew up never talking about her deceased parents.

The Totteridge mother-of-four went on to establish the Grief Encounter Project, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, to “encourage conversations about death between adults and children”.

Dedicated Interfaith champion

American-born Rabbi Mark Winer said he was “humbled and thrilled” to receive a MBE for services to interfaith dialogue and social cohesion in London and the UK.

He is believed to be the first American-born rabbi to receive an MBE.

He said: “The honour pays tribute to my many British Muslim and Christian partners involved in dialogue.” He also praised the UK “which in giving the honour, recognises the importance of inter-religious reconciliation, as few other countries do”.

The former senior rabbi at West London Synagogue sparked controversy for voicing support of the East London Mosque and Lord Ahmed, who had blamed Jews over his dangerous driving charge after he was involved in a motorway accident in 2009.

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