Care home resident reunited with family menorah after chance encounter
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Care home resident reunited with family menorah after chance encounter

The bronze candelabra was donated to a now-closed synagogue years ago but found its way back to its original owner in time for Chanukah

Left to right: Stephanie Lewis, Judith Goodman,  Jeanette, Linda, Mel Zeffert and his spouse, Rabbi Menachem Junik with the new menorah at Jewish Care’s Betty and Asher Loftus Centre (Credit: Jewish Care)
Left to right: Stephanie Lewis, Judith Goodman, Jeanette, Linda, Mel Zeffert and his spouse, Rabbi Menachem Junik with the new menorah at Jewish Care’s Betty and Asher Loftus Centre (Credit: Jewish Care)

Decades after donating her family’s menorah to a Merseyside shul in memory of her late parents, Jeanette Goodman enjoyed a Chanukah miracle this year, thanks to a chance encounter in an Edgware shop.

The retired barrister, a resident at Rosetrees in the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre, said she was “delighted” to be reunited with the bronze candelabra formerly owned by her family.

“The menorah was specially designed to go lower so children can light it too and I’m very happy it’s here,” she said.

Goodman, née Burman, and her siblings Freda and Eric donated the menorah to the Liverpool Greenbank Drive Hebrew Congregation in memory of their late parents Israel and Fanny Burman

But after the community, founded in 1937, held its last service in 2008, its location became unknown to the family.

“It was a wonderful surprise to us when we learned that it had been found, restored and gifted to The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre,” said Goodman’s daughter Judith.

“We are thrilled that mum and the chanukiah have ended up at the same place and we think that it could not have found a better home,” she added.

The menorah was restored and found its way back to its original owner thanks to a chance encounter in a Judaica shop in Edgware.

Linda Conway, whose sister Dorothy Gordon is a resident at the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre, was on the hunt for a menorah to light the entrance to the Jewish Care centre when she received a tip-off from another customer in Divrei Kodesh.

Overhearing Conway’s conversation with a shop assistant, Gavin Ucko put her in touch with his father-in-law Mel Zeffert, a former senior warden at the Liverpool shul, who purchased the menorah close to 12 years ago with plans to donate it a synagogue in London.

“The chanukiah was bronze and needed restoring so my nephew, Steven [Gordon], stepped in to have it restored and we were very pleased that we could light it with the Zeffert’s on the first night of Chanukah and for many more nights celebrating Chanukah in the future,” Conway said.

“It feels Beshet (meaning it was meant to be) to discover that the chanukiah will now be with one of the original donors,” she added.

Jewish Care’s spiritual and cultural adviser Rabbi Menachem Junik, hailed the twist of fate that reunited Goodman with the menorah.

“It’s amazing how the original chanukiah that Jeanette first donated to Greenbank Road Synagogue in Liverpool many years ago, has journeyed to London and ended up back with her at the Jewish Care home where she now lives. The chanukiah reconnects Jeanette to Chanukahs of her youth and it has now gone full circle,” he said.

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