My Jewish Hero! This week.. Professor Robert Winston

My Jewish Hero! This week.. Professor Robert Winston

This week, community educator Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers chooses the fertility pioneer Professor Robert Winston

Robert Winston
Robert Winston

As I write, I am sitting at my desk on my third week back after maternity leave. Our 11-month-old son is refusing to take a bottle, he is waking up every three hours or less through the night for milk, and our almost-four-year-old is trying to work out why she has to have breakfast at nursery again.

Parenthood is a challenge (especially if you work), but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And the truth is, even 10 years ago, my husband and I probably wouldn’t have had our children, had it not been for pioneers such as Robert Winston, who between them have been leading the world in IVF research for the past 40 years.

I don’t know if his Judaism inspired Lord Winston in his research and technological developments, but with Jewish life so focused on families, and biblical women wailing through their infertility, his work has certainly made a huge impact for many in the Jewish community.

Lord Winston doesn’t stop at helping to solve infertility for many. He continues to invest
in the wider scientific community, and to be a friendly, approachable face introducing us through his television work to all sorts of ideas from effective child-rearing to God in creation.

He has also contributed to our core communal institutions such as Limmud.

Clearly, Lord Winston is one of my Jewish heroes for very personal reasons. But he is also an inspiration because he demonstrates continually with humility and humour what it means to get on with living well, as both a Jew and a beloved part of British society.

He changes people’s lives, but he also gets on with living it well, teaching children about science and tweeting regularly.

He is no great unattainable superhero but a man who, through his hard work and vision, has changed (and created) lives the world over.

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