Tributes paid to former Reform chair Michael Grabiner, who dies aged 72
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Tributes paid to former Reform chair Michael Grabiner, who dies aged 72

Progressive movement's head between 2005-08 died after long battle with dementia, with Finchley Reform's rabbi Miriam Berger delivering heartfelt eulogy

Tributes have been paid to former Reform chair Michael Grabiner, who has died at the age of 71.

The progressive leader who headed the movement from 2005-08, and also served as its vice-president, passed away last week following a long battle with dementia.

Reform sent its “heartfelt condolences and best wishes to Mike’s wife, Jane, his siblings; Susan Goldsmith, Stephen and Robert Grabiner, together with his children and grandchildren, and wish them all long life.”

Grabiner, who was awarded a CBE in 2012 for his services to education, had been instrumental in creating the Jewish school JCoss, where he was a former trustee and Chair of Governors.

Although brought up in an Orthodox community, he joined Finchley Reform Synagogue, where got was married, and became more involved in the progressive movement inspired by Rabbis Tony Bayfield and Jeffrey Newman. He was also chair of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

“Mike’s personal charm and temperament were instrumental in bringing people together and along with his capacity to give freely of his time, his influence within the Reform Movement will always be remembered. We will always remain deeply grateful for his passion and support for our Movement”, a statement said.

He was buried last Sunday at Western Cemetery, Bulls Cross Ride, Cheshunt, with shiva prayers taking place until Wednesday, including on Zoom.

Finchley Reform’s rabbi Miriam Berger led the eulogy service on Sunday, saying: “We’ve been losing Mike for a while; he was no longer the man we knew, loved, and admired.

“We knew this moment would come and we knew him being freed from this awful disease is what he would have wanted.”

She paid tribute to his achievements and said he “always had a firm vision, always knew the destination, knew where he needed to get the project, the business, the kids, the charity to, and rather than shouting or bullying his way to get there he gently corralled, guided, asked difficult questions, helped you think it was your idea, always taking those that needed to be brought along on the journey each step of the way.

“The tragedy today is that he reached his ultimate destination, like so many other less significant ones, far too early. He would have hated to be the person he had become and yet perhaps he knew his life’s work was complete.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments