Father and daughter make history for United Synagogue

Father and daughter make history for United Synagogue

Father and daughter chairs for JN May 20 2016 by Jenni Frazer

Lindsay Shure and his daughter, Lucy Jackson, are set to make history on Sunday — when they become the first father and daughter in the United Synagogue to be elected chairs of their respective synagogues.

Lindsay is set to become chair of Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue, while Lucy, who has been vice-chair for the last two years, is due to become chair of Mill Hill Synagogue — that community’s first female chair.

“I was very proud when I heard about Lucy,” Lindsay told Jewish News — adding: “I am proud of all my four daughters.” As for Lucy, she smiles: “Shul is in my blood.”

Lucy Jackson, a mother of three, is currently on maternity leave from her post as head of communications for the music therapy charity, Nordoff-Robbins. “I got involved with Mill Hill about seven years ago because of my experience in organising events — my career has been in charity and PR.” For the last two years she has served as vice-chair to one of the biggest synagogues in the US — there are a staggering 1800 adult members and an estimated 1200 children, and probably the largest number of under-16s of any synagogue in the country,

“We can’t operate like a small shul any more”, says Lucy, whose mantra is that “shul isn’t just about Shabbat mornings”. Mill Hill, she says, endeavours to offer something for everyone, with a wide range of social and educational programming aimed at attracting people of all ages and levels of observance. “I feel very privileged to do this work”, she says.

Over in north-east London, her father Lindsay Shure, who works in IT and is a psychodynamic counsellor, has different challenges. Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue grew out of a merger of two communities and is this year marking its 40th anniversary in its current building. It has around 1350 individual members and its board is unusual in that it includes four married couples, serving the synagogue.

“I always talked about the Chigwell and Hainault family”, says Lindsay, “and that’s the way we work. We have loads of bar and bat-mitzvahs at the moment, we are announcing the appointment of a new assistant rabbi, Rafi Goodwin, and we have a lot of young couples moving in to the area.”

Both father and daughter were “thrilled” about their new positions, but laughed at the idea of a one-week job swap. “We are very different communities,” said Lindsay, firmly. But Lucy had the last word. “I like the idea of my father as chair so that I can call him up and run problems by him — if I need to!”

  • 17 May, 2016