Induction of Rabbi Geoffrey Hyman at Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation
Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation President Michael Nelkin welcomed Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Dayanim, Rabbanim, and Westcliff`s local MP Anna Firth plus other dignitaries. They were all amongst the 300 Congregants attending the Induction of Rabbi Geoffrey Hyman and the celebration of his 40 years in the Rabbinate. SWHC President said, “The Rabbinic couple were welcomed into the Community in 2019 but because of the pandemic the induction was much delayed. After nearly 4 years, we are finally delighted to welcome the Chief Rabbi to our shul for this induction rather than for Rabbi Geoffrey`s retirement!” The President revealed Rebettzen Michelle has a separate full time career but in spite of this they open their home and is a superb hostess of style and warmth.
In his address, Chief Rabbi Mirvis remarked what a marvellous occasion it was, that age is never a factor when achieving success, and he described how the Community coped with the Pandemic. He complimented SWHC on the wisdom of appointing Rabbi Hyman in these challenging times, “a marriage made in heaven.” The Chief Rabbi highlighted this was Rabbi Hyman`s eighth “active” community position, that there were eight Rabbonim predecessors of SWHC, and that the Rabbi and Rebbetzen have a family of 8 (plus 13 grandchildren). The Chief Rabbi made an analogy of the symbol of the Brit – eight – the covenant of bringing people closer.
Responding, Rabbi Hyman thanked Chief Rabbi Mirvis for his inspiring message. He explained how Sidrah portions get their names i.e. derived mainly from the first or second words at the beginning of the Sidrah.
He compared “Noah” and “Abram” – Noah means “rest” and “Abram”, “lovingkindness” and reflects proactiveness. Rabbi Hyman recounted that he tries to make a difference and thanked the Community for being their Rabbi and recognised SWHC`S great warmth and generosity of spirit.
There was an Order of Service, including Psalms and the Prayer for the Royal Family and Israel. The service was led two Chazzanim, Shalom Rapoport and Zalmy Cohen commanding plenty of life and spirit.
A reception was catered for by the Ladies Guild for all the guests after the service and a l’chaim made to the newly inducted Rabbi Hyman. Rabbi Hyman and Michael Nelkin thanks the army of volunteers that made the day such a success.