Connect with us
Israel Bonds RRSP


Rabbi Abraham Levy, influential leader among Britain’s Sephardic Jews, dies at 83

(JTA) — British Jews are mourning Rabbi Abraham Levy, who led London’s historic Spanish and Portuguese community for decades, building up multiple institutions serving Sephardic Jews in the process.

Levy died Dec. 24 at age 83, a decade after becoming emeritus spiritual head of the S&P Sephardi Community in London, following a 32-year period serving as the  head rabbi.

“He was a man of God. A leader of religious life. And he did it with a great deal of conviction. He was a leader who was courageous and had integrity,” his successor, Rabbi Joseph Dweck, said during a special session held to memorialize Levy during the annual Limmud Festival of Jewish learning in Birmingham, England, which was underway when he died.

Levy had played a role in building the annual festival to its current status when, in its early days in the 1980s, his participation was unusual among Orthodox rabbis. Now, the festival is seen as an exemplar of pluralism.

“It is a huge loss for the whole of Anglo Jewry — he built our collective Judaism,” Dweck said. “He represented the Jewish community with such grace and eloquence. I am not sure how we replace that. When we were not sure what the Spanish and Portuguese custom was there was only one person we would ask — and that was him.”

Born in Gibraltar to an Orthodox family, Levy trained as a rabbi at London’s Jews’ College and also completed a doctorate at London University. He ascended to the top spot in London’s Spanish and Portuguese community in 1980.

During his tenure, Levy was responsible for opening Naima Jewish Preparatory School, the first Sephardi school in London since the early 20th century. He remained until his death the honorary principal of the school, which was located in London’s West End and enrolled a mixture of Anglo-Sephardi Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, and burgeoning numbers of Jews from Iran, Iraq and France in the late 1980s.

Levy is also credited with retaining Orthodox rabbinic ordination in England under the auspices of the Montefiore Endowment, after the body that had ordained him stopped minting new rabbis. He additionally created a leadership program for young Jews whose early graduates included Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s chief rabbi for 22 decades and a towering figure in contemporary Judaism.

Rabbi Abraham Levy led the S&P Sephardi Community in England for more than three decades. He is seen in prayer after his retirement. (Courtesy of Rabbi Joseph Dweck)

Rabbi Raphael Zarum, a graduate of the Montefiore rabbinic training program who is now dean of the London School of Jewish Studies, said Levy was gifted at integrating religious and secular ideas. There was, Zarum said, “a natural overlap for him… He would say, ‘We Sephardim do our jobs, we are part of the world and we are also close to our faith.’”

Levy took a lead role in Sepharad 92, the effort by the World Sephardi Federation to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Jewish expulsion from Spain and Portugal. His role included meeting heads of state and visiting Sephardic communities in Spain and Portugal.

As a member of England’s Council of Christians and Jews, Levy helped to foster positive relations between the faiths. Queen Elizabeth awarded him the OBE, Britain’s second-highest national award, for his interfaith relations work in 2004.

“Rabbi Levy will be profoundly missed, but his message of tolerance and his work toward interfaith dialogue hold enduring lessons for us all,” King Charles said in a statement. He said Levy had been his host when Charles visited the Bevis Marks Synagogue, the largest associated with the Sephardic community, for its 300th anniversary in 2o01.

“I knew him both as a kind and towering figure in his community and as a greatly respected and admired teacher across communities,” the king said in his statement.

Tributes also poured in from elsewhere in England, from British Jews of all backgrounds and even from the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, who was a cousin. Hassan-Nahoum tweeted that Levy was “a great and proud Sefardi leader — who will be greatly missed.”

“Our community mourns the sad loss of Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy,” said the United Kingdom’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, in a statement. He “made his mark well beyond the Sephardi community. A committed rabbinic leader and outstanding scholar, he made a deep impact in interfaith relations and education.”

Levy was buried Dec. 26 in a cemetery in Golders Green, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood of London, after a funeral procession that included stops at the Naima school and the Lauderdale Road Synagogue, also part of the Sephardi community. He is survived by a son and four grandchildren.

The post Rabbi Abraham Levy, influential leader among Britain’s Sephardic Jews, dies at 83 appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply



Wiseman, Nathan Elliot
1944 – 2023
Nathan, our beloved husband, Dad, and Zaida, died unexpectedly on December 13, 2023. Nathan was born on December 16, 1944, in Winnipeg, MB, the eldest of Sam and Cissie Wiseman’s three children.
He is survived by his loving wife Eva; children Sam (Natalie) and Marni (Shane); grandchildren Jacob, Jonah, Molly, Isabel, Nicole, and Poppy; brother David (Sherrill); sister Barbara (Ron); sister-in-law Agi (Sam) and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Nathan grew up in the north end of Winnipeg surrounded by his loving family. He received his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1968, subsequently completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Manitoba and went on to complete a fellowship in Paediatric Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard University. His surgeon teachers and mentors were world renowned experts in the specialty, and even included a Nobel prize winner.
His practice of Paediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg spanned almost half a century. He loved his profession and helping patients, even decades later often recounting details about the many kiddies on whom he had operated. Patients and their family members would commonly approach him on the street and say, “Remember me Dr. Wiseman?”. And he did! His true joy was caring for his patients with compassion, patience, unwavering commitment, and excellence. He was a gifted surgeon and leaves a profound legacy. He had no intention of ever fully retiring and operated until his very last day. He felt privileged to have the opportunity to mentor, support and work with colleagues, trainees, nurses, and others health care workers that enriched his day-to-day life and brought him much happiness and fulfillment. He was recognized with many awards and honors throughout his career including serving as Chief of Surgery of Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, President of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. Most importantly of all he helped and saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Manitoba children. His impact on the generations of children he cared for, and their families, is truly immeasurable.
Nathan’s passion for golf was ignited during his childhood summers spent at the Winnipeg Beach Golf Course. Southwood Golf and Country Club has been his second home since 1980. His game was excellent and even in his last year he shot under his age twice! He played an honest “play as it lies” game. His golf buddies were true friends and provided him much happiness both on and off the course for over forty years. However, his passion for golf extended well beyond the eighteenth hole. He immersed himself in all aspects of the golf including collecting golf books, antiques, and memorabilia. He was a true scholar of the game, reading golf literature, writing golf poetry, and even rebuilding and repairing antique golf clubs. Unquestionably, his knowledge and passion for the game was limitless.
Nathan approached his many woodworking and workshop projects with zeal and creativity, and he always had many on the go. During the winter he was an avid curler, and in recent years he also enjoyed the study of Yiddish. Nathan never wasted any time and lived his life to the fullest.
Above all, Nathan was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, father-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, and granduncle. He loved his family and lived for them, and this love was reciprocated. He met his wife Eva when he was a 20-year-old medical student, and she was 18 years old. They were happily married for 56 years. They loved each other deeply and limitlessly and were proud of each other’s accomplishments. He loved the life and the family they created together. Nathan was truly the family patriarch, an inspiration and a mentor to his children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and many others. He shared his passion for surgery and collecting with his son and was very proud to join his daughter’s medical practice (he loved Thursdays). His six grandchildren were his pride and joy and the centre of his world.
Throughout his life Nathan lived up to the credo “May his memory be a blessing.” His life was a blessing for the countless newborns, infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers who he cared for, for his colleagues, for his friends and especially for his family. We love him so much and there are no words to describe how much he will be missed.
A graveside funeral was held at the Shaarey Zedek cemetery on December 15, 2023. Pallbearers were his loving grandchildren. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, in the name of Dr. Nathan Wiseman.

Continue Reading


Bill Maher tells it like it is when it comes to what “the river to the sea” really means

Bill Maher cuts to the chase like no one else. Here’s a link to a segment from the most recent episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” where he exposes the total hypocrisy of the “useful idiots” everywhere chanting “from the river to the sea”:

Continue Reading

Local News

Jewish community holds solidarity rally November 25

The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg held a rally in support of Israel on Saturday evening, November 25.

A number of speakers addressed the crowd of 800, including Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun-Herzlia Congregation; Members of Parliament Ben Carr & Marty Morantz; Yolanda Papini-Pollock of Winnipeg Friends of Israel; Paula McPherson, former Brock Corydon teacher; and Gustavo Zentner, President of the Jewish Federation.

Ben Carr

Click here to watch Ben Carr’s remarks:

Marty Morantz

Click here to watch a video of Marty Morantz’s remarks:

Gustavo Zentner

Click here to watch a video of Gustavo Zentner’s remarks:

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News