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Leading Jewish educator Maureen Kendler dies

Ms Kendler wrote the JC’s weekly Sidrah column and was a former education director at Tzedek.

    Maureen Kendler, a leading educator in British Jewry, has died following a short illness.

    A teaching fellow at the London School of Jewish Studies, Ms Kendler was renowned for her sessions at the Limmud Festival and was a regular contributor to Jewish media.

    She wrote the JC’sweekly Sidrah column and was a former education director at Tzedek.

    Ms Kendler died this morning.

    Rabbi Raphael Zarum, dean of LSJS, said: "Anglo-Jewry just lost one of its finest. A smile, a warmth and a depth that will be unforgettable." 

    A statement issued by JW3 community centre, where Ms Kendler regularly taught, said: "Many hundreds of people of all ages at JW3, like tens of thousands of others across the Jewish community, enjoyed Maureen’s calm, measured articulation of potentially complex moral and philosophical Jewish concepts, in easily understandable talks, lectures and classes.

    "She was blessed with a sharp intellect and equally sharp wit and sense of humour, and could seemingly adapt her teaching to any type of audience, regardless of age, background or level of knowledge.

    "All of us who had the honour and privilege of knowing her, learning with her or working alongside her, know first-hand that she taught Jewish values as a dugma ishit - by her personal example. She was one of the most engaging, open-hearted, and beloved Jewish educators that we’ve had the pleasure of knowing, and she will be deeply missed by many."

    In a tribute on Facebook, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, senior rabbi of Masorti Judaism,  wrote: “Our thoughts are with all her family.

    “She was a pioneering spirit in Jewish education in this country and far beyond. Knowledgeable, inspiring, warm-hearted, engaging, entertaining, open-minded and extraordinarily well-read. She was an inspiration to thousands. Baruch dayan ha'emet.”

    Scott Saunders, founder and chair of March of the Living UK, said: "Maureen has been a constant with us on March of the Living for the past six years. For many of us she was more than an outstanding educator, her wisdom, help and advice was so appreciated by so many.  She was our friend.

    "Personally, I shall always be grateful to her in the way she set about her task and her passion for educating, but even more so, she would always enquire as to my welfare, often coming over to me quietly and ask: "Scott how are you doing, I mean how are you really doing?" Sometimes, when one is faced with many different pressures, we all need a Maureen Kendler.

    "Maureen will be sorely missed by all of us who are involved or are alumni of March of the Living UK.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband and her four children."

    Paul Anticoni, World Jewish Relief’s chief executive, said: “Maureen was an integral part of World Jewish Relief’s Advisory Team, offering us sage advice on the work of the charity through her treasure trove of Jewish wisdom. She will be sorely missed by staff and trustees and we send our heartfelt condolences to Maureen’s family.”

    Born in 1956 and raised in Ilford, Essex, Ms Kendler lived in Brighton with her husband Hayden before moving to London following the birth of the first of her four children.

    She taught at North London Collegiate School and later worked as an education officer for the Jewish Council for Equality. She was also a former head of Jewish literacy at UJIA.

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