The Jewish community this week paid its respects to Lady Hazel Sternberg, wife of Sir Sigmund Sternberg, who passed away on Shabbat.

A “pioneer” of interfaith work, she helped build Jewish-Catholic ties and became the first Jewish woman to be appointed to the 150-year old Order of St Sylvester. This was established to honour non-Catholics, nine years after her husband received a similar papal recognition.

The couple were active members of the North Western Reform Synagogue in Finchley, and were described as embodying “all that is best in our community” by Rabbi Tony Bayfield, one of their leading pastors.

Board of Deputies’ President Vivian Wineman said: “She made a lasting contribution to Jewish charity work and community building, particularly to interfaith, in which she was a pioneer together with her husband.”

He added: “She was a quite remarkable lady in her own right, involved at the forefront of numerous charitable causes. She was truly a Lady in every sense of the word; gracious, dignified and generous and we will miss her deeply.”

Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said: “Zichrona livracha, may she rest in peace.”

The Anne Frank Trust, of which Sir Sigmund is a long-time patron, also expressed its sadness at hearing of her passing.