Our People

Rabbi Elchonon Feldman

Rabbi Elchonon Feldman

Originally from New York, Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, our passionate and dynamic Rabbi, joined Bushey United Synagogue along with his lovely wife Rebbetzin Jacqueline and their family, in December 2016 after five successful years at Belmont Synagogue.  Israel is very close to Rabbi Feldman’s heart, as he spent over a decade studying, teaching and receiving his Semicha (Rabbinical ordination) there.  Beyond Rabbinics, Rabbi Elchonon has a deep interest in psychotherapy and is currently completing his Masters in this field, which will complement his certification as an addiction counsellor and his Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts.  Our Rabbi’s interests include playing guitar, enjoying a fine whisky with friends and proselytising American sport to the unsuspecting masses.  As a Rabbinic couple the Feldmans bring a vibrancy and warmth to our community and, with their modern flair, they are looking forward to guiding Bushey Synagogue towards a bright and exciting future as one of Anglo Jewry’s flagship communities.

Assistant Rabbinical Team

Rabbi Nick & Rebetzen Shira Kett

As of September 2017 we welcome Family Kett to our community as our new Assistant Rabbinical Team. We welcome Rabbi Nick together with his wife Shira once suitable housing has been found. They will be joined by their children Miri (6) Doniel (3) and Dassi (1). We look forward to welcoming the Kett family and wish them Hatzlacha and all the very best in this new and exciting venture for us all.

Honorary Officers

Sas Ezekiel - Chairman / Building & site management / security / Gan

My name is Sas, and I was first elected chairman of the Synagogue in May 2016. I have worked in Interior Design since 1978 when I set up the company with my wife Rocki. We have two sons: Dean who lives in Bushey with his wife Aimee and son Rafi and Jamie who lives in Cockfosters with his wife Lara and daughter Bella. We have been members of the community in Bushey for over 25 years. I enjoy cycling, the theatre and music.

Jonathan Kalms - Vice Chairman / Shabbat UK / Forum

My name is Jonathan Kalms and this is my second time as a member of Bushey United Synagogue. The first time was when I lived with my Father and Stepmother who are still members of the shul. I moved back to Bushey in 2011. I have been married to my wife Lynsey for 16 years and we have two sons, Benjamin 15 and Jamie 11. I am MD of my own successful trading business selling toiletries, health and beauty products. I have also, in the last year, completed my FA Coaching Level 1. I undertook this challenge to be able to facilitate and manage my younger son’s football team every Sunday. I also enjoy playing in the 11 aside Maccabi over 43 Football league Team as well as another 5 aside team each week. As a family we support a number of charities, one of which is Langdon, which is of particular importance to us as our eldest son has autism and this charity helps children with learning difficulties with similar needs to lead an independent life.

Wardens

Richard Gilbert - Warden / Child protection & vulnerable people

I joined the Shul 18 years ago when I moved to Bushey with my wife Vicki. A year later I joined the Board of Management and served the community in that capacity until 3 years ago. Over the years I have led the Children Services, been an active member of the Eruv Committee, devised the format of the annual Yizkor Booklet and have run Explanatory Services and now the Upstairs Minyan. For the last 14 years I have organised the Baby Blessing Ceremonies that take place on Pesach, Shavuot and Succot. In the wider community I have been a governor for Yavneh College for the last 12 years amongst other things. With my experience, I believe I have a lot to offer the community. I am a very keen genealogist.

Bension Morris - Warden

I moved to Bushey from Edgware with my wife, Sally.  We have three children and several grandchildren.  If you’ve been to a simcha in the last 35 years you may have seen me performing with my band, Kinneret!  I enjoy being a member of Bushey’s thriving community and feel privileged to be able to serve as warden. I look forward to meeting you at one of the many activities in the Shul.

Board of Management

Rina Abrahams - Community care / learning zone / adult education

I have been a member of Bushey Synagogue for over 27 years and am a regular Shul attendee. I am married to Mark and have two daughters Carly & Elise. I have been involved in Shul activities going back to my serving on the Gan Aviv PTA as treasurer, Kiddush rota helper, I have been a member of the Bushey Israel Committee. I have also hosted kids from Israel as part of the Magic Moment initiative on two separate occasions.

I have served on Board of Management Committee for the last five years. During this time I have joint Coordinated Mitzvah Day with Claudia Rose for five years which saw over 250 Bushey people get involved in doing a mitzvah and have passed over the responsibility to Sarah Zackheim. I have also helped with the UJIA Magic Moments programme and I also joint coordinated Yom Hazikaron ceremony and Yom Ha’azmaut celebration on past occasions. I have served as a US Council representative and currently hold the position of Ladies Education assisting Rebettzin Jacqueline Feldman with the Women’s Rosh Chodesh talks and programmes. I helped introduced “The Ladies Bar” two years ago at Simchat Torah which was a great success and is being reintroduced this year. I have also acted as a liaison between the US and their Chessed department and have coordinated the Toy Drive and Food Collections for Gift in previous years.

I believe that there is still lots more to give to our wonderful community in a more direct and positive way.

Dan Blake - Eruv

I moved to Bushey in 2007 with my beautiful wife, Nicki, who tragically passed away in 2010 from a rare form of pancreatic cancer. I am blessed to have our wonderful son Joshua (9) who loves coming to Shul and partaking in the children’s service. I joined the Board in 2012 to primarily focus on the incredibly important Eruv project which I hope will go live in the very near future. Joshua and I truly love being a part of this warm, vibrant and dynamic community. We are excited for the future.

Martyn Ellis - Gan FR

David Goldberg - Meet & greet rota / new members

I want to help the community grow into its next phase with a new Rabbi and Rebbetzen and the Eruv going up – this is a very exciting time for the Bushey community. I sing and perform in a choir in Hampstead called Rockchoir – and it’s great!

Daniel Goldwater - Youth line manager / youth

Because my wife let me, there was no good reason not to and I felt the time had come to step up and put something back. I play the ukulele and create art out of stuff that’s been thrown away.

Alan Graham MBE - Interfaith

Jenny and I have been members of Bushey Synagogue for some 43 years. We have two married daughters, both of whom attended the Ganim and were Bat Chayil in Bushey. I have served several terms on the Board of Management – two as Vice Chairman – and a number of years as one of Bushey’s US Council representatives. I have served on the current Board for 8 years, during which time I chaired the ‘Community Development Strategic Review’ group, and also the group responsible for overseeing the creation of the new Bushey Synagogue Website. In 1998, I chaired the ‘Community First’ communications and marketing project, which was launched to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the consecration of the new Synagogue and Community Centre. In 2002 I was honoured as Chatan Bereshit. Until 2005, I sat on the United Synagogue ‘Community Development’ Committee, when I also chaired the planning group for the US ‘Kehillah’ Conference at Wembley, to mark the 10th Anniversary of the induction of Chief Rabbi Sacks. I was for 9 years a Trustee of WIZO UK, and have also advised the Chief Executive of Camp Simcha. Professionally, I retired in 2004 as a main Board Director of Rothschilds  Bank, with whom I spent a 40-year career (in Europe, North America and Asia). I now haveseveral roles in the Public, Private and Voluntary sectors, including membership of the Boards of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and The Insolvency Service, both of whose Audit Committees I also chair. I am a Trustee and former Chairman of the Board of the motor Neurone Disease Association, a Non-Executive Director of The Charity Bank and a member of the Football Association Disciplinary (Anti-Discrimination) Chairmans Panel.

James Haftel - Learning zone /adult education

I am extremely privileged to serve on the board. I moved back to Bushey in 2014 having spent time in Hull and Israel. I grew up in the reform but with many friends in this community and was privileged to have my first history lesson from Rabbi Salasnik when I was 6 years old! I have a BA degree from The University of Hull in philosophy, education and religion and have a passion for inclusive Jewish education. My studies continue. My long-term ambition is to make Aliyah and work in Inclusion in Israel whilst studying at Yeshiva. On the board of the shaul I will strive, Baruch Hashem to reflect fairly as many viewpoints as possible.  

Alisa Heimann - Bushey gives back (previously Mitzvah Day)

Rather than just enjoying the benefits of being part of this community, I felt that it was long overdue that I help work behind the scenes and be part of driving the community forward. Probably not such an unusual interest but maybe unusual to admit to it…I love to sing. I am currently a member of a women’s choir and in January was lucky enough to be part of a choir at the Barbican as part of my son’s school Gala concert.

Tracey Karet - Health & safety

I have been a member of the shul since 1976 when I first moved to Bushey with my parents. I attended cheder classes, children services and any youth activities on offer at the time. I now have kids of my own and as a family we regularly come to shul and my children enjoy the wide range of activities the shul provides for their respective age groups. I started getting involved with the community as an adult after we had our first son. Whilst waiting for him to come out of Gan Katan, I realised that there were some members who came in to the shul regularly to attend to routine activities that we all take for granted. I offered my help; after all I was there anyway. Since then I have helped with the Kiddush rota, I have helped with children’s services and I have served on the board holding portfolios that have included organising activities for young marrieds and young families, staffing and administration and house. Two years ago I had to come off the board as I had been a member for too long according to new bylaws that were brought in. Having had a break, I am ready to rejoin the Board of Management and once again work for the good of the community.

Stuart Lesser- Functions / sport days

Susan Marco - Children’s services / children’s events

Most of my waking hours are devoted to the furtherance of the Jewish community, be it the wider community through my role as Finance Manager at JW3 or the local community through my responsibility for the children’s services. My husband and I moved to Bushey in 2004 and were overwhelmed by the warmth and vibrancy of the shul. We’ve both been involved in the shul in various capacities ever since and are delighted to be bringing up our children here

Claudia Rose - Gan

I have been married to John for over 25 years and have been a member of this thriving community since we were married. We have two children, Ella and Hannah. Since we first joined the community, I have been involved in some way or other and begun by helping to run the Mothers and Toddlers group a number of years ago! I have spent several years on the Board in different capacities. Until last year, when Mitzvah Day was taken over by Tara Shaw and Sarah Zackheim, Mitzvah Day was run for the previous 5 years by Rina Abrahams and myself and we saw it grow and develop with the help of numerous volunteers from our wonderful community.

Bettina Roston - Israel

I have been a member of Bushey Shul for over twenty-five years; since my daughter, Jodie, was four years old.

Approximately sixteen years ago, at the time when our community twinned with Kerem Ben Zimra (KBZ), a moshav in northern Israel, I was asked if I’d like to take a group of young Israelis visiting out to London for the day while they were with us in Bushey with ‘Magic Moments’ (the UJIA’s Building Bridges programme).

Soon after that, I was asked to coordinate ‘Magic Moments’ for our community and was later persuaded to chair the Bushey Israel Committee.

Having taken a break over the past few years to organise a few weddings: ours; my daughter’s; and step-son, Jason’s, I am now ready to rekindle my passion and to form a team within our community to take the Bushey Israel Committee in new directions.

I look forward to working and sharing this passion to connect our community once again with Eretz Yisrael.

Jeff Rubenstein

Sarah Zackheim - Bushey gives back (previously Mitzvah Day)

This is my second year on the board and my main responsibility is coordinating Mitzvah Day with Alisa. We have also just set up a social action committee called Bushey Gives Back, and we hope to help several charities throughout the year. In addition to this I also like to dip in and out of organising other Shul events, either social activities or the Kids@Bushey programme… mainly to put off the ironing or laundry or any of the other domestic chores that come with having 3 children and a husband at home. These events are also great fun to organise especially with our new Rabbi and Rebbetzin at the helm, so if anyone else wants to join me please be in touch.

Board of Deputies

Board of Deputies elections take place every three years in Synagogues and communal organisations throughout the nation. This year those elections were more hotly contested than ever before. In Hampstead Garden Suburb, for example, there were eleven candidates for four slots and throughout the country many veteran Deputies lost their seats in the face of a surge of interest in the Board which resulted in more young people and women being returned than ever before. The democratic mandate gives the Board its legitimacy. The voters are rank and file members of the constituent Synagogues. In Bushey, three Candidates and one “Under 35 Observer” were elected by members. The Board is financed by the £25 Communal Levy which individual members are requested to pay via their Synagogue accounts. The Deputies elected for Bushey are accountable to the members who pay their Communal Levy and if any Bushey member wants to raise an issue concerning the Jewish community either in the UK or anywhere in the world they should contact their elected Deputy who will be pleased to deal with any matter referred to them. To see further information, follow the link to the Board of Deputies Website.

Laurence Brass

Laurence was originally elected to represent Bushey Synagogue on the Board of Deputies in 1974. By the end of the current triennium he will thus have served 42 consecutive years on the Board. During that time he has been actively involved in most of the Board’s major committees. In 2009 he first became an Hon Officer when he was elected as Treasurer and he has now been re-elected to that post for another three year term. He chaired the Board’s 250th Anniversary Committee in 2010. He now heads the Finance and Organisation Division of the Board and he aims to continue his programme of travelling the country addressing Synagogues and communal organisations on the work of the Board. Laurence spent most of his professional career as a Solicitor but was then appointed as a Judge in which capacity he now sits in the “First Tier Tribunal” dealing specifically with Asylum cases and Incapacity Benefit appeals. He is married to Hilary and they have two children: Gemma (married to Gary) and Andrew (married to Andrea), and both families live in Bushey and are members of the Synagogue. Gemma and Gary currently have one child, Brady, who attends Gan Aviv and Andrew and Andrea have a daughter, Harley, who will be two in August.

Jeff Norman

My late wife Elizabeth and I moved into Bushey in 1974 with our one-year old son, Robbie, to be joined by Laurence in 1976. We have been delighted to see the community grow to its current size without losing its special, personal touch. My background is Finance in a commercial environment, whilst Elizabeth taught French to the willing and unwilling. We have both been involved in voluntary work for the Jewish community – Elizabeth for Miyad and, for the last 2/3 years, I have been supporting the networking team at Resource. I look forward to making a community-wide contribution.

Ella Rose

In December 2013 I was elected as President of the Union of Jewish Students, a position from which I stepped down from in June 2015. I’ve represented 8,500 Jewish students to the Prime Minister, various Secretaries of States, Ambassadors Taub and Gould, and the international community, as well as sitting on the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies. In March I was named the most influential British Jew under the age of 25 by a cross-communal panel of Jewish leaders. President of the Board, Vivian Wineman described me as contributing ‘a considerable footprint’ to Jewish life in Britain. I tell you all this not as a boast but in an attempt to show you my suitability to representing you and our community at the Board of Deputies. I know what it means to represent a community which is unified not uniform in their opinions, as I have done for students over the past year. I’ve been incredibly lucky with the opportunities I’ve had, as well as the support from the Bushey community. I feel its now my turn to give back, and represent Bushey to the best of my ability.

Youth Leaders

Professional/Admin

Mary Chambers

Mary has been the administrator at Bushey Shul for well over 30 years. She has a son, a daughter and a beautiful grandson. You can phone Mary on 020 8950 7340 Option 1, or  her.

Michelle Lassman

Michelle joined Bushey Shul as Assistant Administrator in February 2013. Michelle, who is married with two young children, previously worked at Borehamwood & Elstree Synagogue and will be assisting Mary on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. You can phone Michelle on 020 8950 7340 Option 1, or  her.

Del Abrahams

Del has been a caretaker at the shul for over 10 years. He has 2 sons and 3 granddaughters and has lived in Borehamwood for the past 45 years.