Tributes paid to former JC editor Geoffrey Paul, who dies aged 90
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Tributes paid to former JC editor Geoffrey Paul, who dies aged 90

Rabbi Lord Sacks leads praise for veteran writer, as having a 'sharp mind, a deeply moral set of commitments, a devoted love of Judaism'

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Geoffrey Paul (right) with Moshe Dayan at the JC offices in 1977 (Credit: The Jewish Chronicle)
Geoffrey Paul (right) with Moshe Dayan at the JC offices in 1977 (Credit: The Jewish Chronicle)

Geoffrey Paul, who has died aged 90, was the editor of the Jewish Chronicle from 1977 to 1990 and in 1991 was made OBE for services to journalism.

The Liverpool-born Paul started life as Geoffrey David Goldstein, but changed his name when he became a full-time journalist. He could be said to have edited the JC in its “glory years”, when it had little or no competition and a huge circulation.

Former chief rabbi Lord Sacks, who attended the funeral on Monday at Bushey New Cemetery, said: “Geoffrey Paul was one of Anglo Jewry’s finest editors, with a sharp mind, a deeply moral set of commitments, a devoted love of Judaism, a strong sense of humour and unfailing humanity. He represented Anglo-Jewry at its very best and raised its journalistic standards high. Elaine and I considered him a cherished friend, and our deepest condolences go to Rachel and his children”.

Speaking at the funeral, Rabbi Harvey Belovski, minister of Golders Green Synagogue, said that Lord Sacks had once advised him that every rabbi needed a wise person to consult. Geoffrey Paul was the “wise ear” for Rabbi Belovski, who admitted that he had once been so furious about something that he was ready to take a dramatic step. Geoffrey Paul “strongly advised” against such a step, he told the mourners, adding that had he proceeded in his action “I would not be standing here today.”

After working on provincial papers Geoffrey Paul moved to London and worked for a number of Jewish outlets including the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) and the Jewish Observer, before joining the Jewish Chronicle and rising through the ranks until he became foreign editor.

In that role he sent himself to Israel, where he lived for a short time with his first wife, Joy, and their daughter Claire. But Joy did not take to Israel and returned to London; eventually the couple divorced.

In Jerusalem Geoffrey Paul met his second wife, American Rachel Mann, who was working for the Israeli Foreign Ministry. They married and returned to Britain where their son, Joshua, was born, in the early days of Geoffrey Paul’s JC editorship.

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, said: “We are very sad to hear of Geoffrey Paul’s death. He upheld the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in his work and will be missed by all who knew him.”

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