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When I took over as Chair in May 2021, I had a number of pressing priorities, including ensuring that we continued to run services, moving out of lock-down, and making arrangements for the High Holydays 5782.

 In addition, of course, I was also keenly aware that we needed to take steps to find a Rabbi; someone to offer leadership and guidance for our members. I was also aware that we were fishing in a very small pool; there are more posts than potential applicants, both in the UK and worldwide.

The recruitment working party, made up of 3 trustees and 4 members from across the congregation, have worked together for more than a year, and I am now delighted to announce that our efforts have come to fruition with the appointment of Cantor Rachel Weston.

Rachel has just completed five years of training at the prestigious Hebrew Union College in New York. As a Cantor, Rachel has gone through a rigorous training, and is able and qualified to take on all the aspects of congregational leadership that would be expected of any Rabbi. She also brings a wealth of experience from her previous work as a social care worker, and is already a renowned singer and performer, with an extensive repertoire that includes Jewish and Yiddish folk music.

In taking up the post at Sinai, Rachel joins several other Cantors in the Progressive Jewish movement, but she will be the first working as the sole leader of a UK Reform congregation. She will be joining us in time to lead our High Holyday services, and plans to visit Leeds in mid-June, offering an opportunity to meet members prior to starting in her post in mid/late July.

She will also be making a digital guest appearance at our AGM, on Thursday 18th May from 7pm for cheese and wine, with the meeting starting at 7:30pm.

I am sure we all look forward to welcoming Rachel and getting to know her over the coming months.


Antony Bryant

Rachel WestonMy name is Cantor Rachel Weston and I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Sinai community this summer. In many ways coming to Sinai is the culmination of my life journey; I have held many identities over the years as a singer of Yiddish and cantorial music, a learning disabilities and mental health support worker, teacher, scholar of our holy texts, and a seeker of sacred communities both in synagogues and beyond the walls of institutions.

My religious and pastoral training at HUC has prepared me to lead in the Jewish community, but as a Cantor my work has a special orientation towards finding community through song. My work is grounded in seeking after music, scholarship, beauty, and deeper compassion. I will bring all these parts of myself into this community and am so grateful for the opportunity to learn, pray, and work together.