I'm very pleased to be serving South London Liberal Synagogue this year. It is one of the oldest constituent members of the Liberal Jewish movement, is served by a committed and imaginative team of lay leaders, and is housed in an extraordinary building with real character in a vibrant part of the capital. A very friendly and welcoming shul.
I am a fourth year rabbinic student at Leo Baeck College, looking forward to ordination in July 2018. During my training, I have led services in a number of synagogues, both Liberal and Reform, and have undertaken placements at Eastbourne Liberal Jewish Community and Finchley Reform Synagogue, as well as spending High Holy Days with Southport Reform and South Hampshire Reform Jewish Community. My own synagogue is Mosaic Liberal in Harrow. I formerly belonged to the LJS, having come from the very periphery of Jewish life and identification to find a home in Liberal Judaism.
I am the youngest child of deceased parents, and have five siblings and many nieces and nephews, some of whom have children themselves. Brought up in Willesden, North West London, I attended a local comprehensive, where I returned twice - first to complete an Access to Higher Education certificate in the mid 1990s after a period of unemployment, and then as a teaching assistant, mentor and, finally, teacher, becoming deputy head of faculty and a school governor. In between, I was awarded a degree in history with German at what is now the University of West London, before pursuing modern German studies at master's level at Birkbeck College. At the age of forty, I took a sabbatical which became a career change, and began to train for the rabbinate.
Life has taken many interesting twists and turns over the years, and all have contributed to the person I am today, as has the influence of my family, friends and teachers, including my partner, Linda, a senior research nurse and lecturer, and an accidental would-be rabbi's assistant! I hope to bring humour, compassion and enthusiasm to my rabbinate, as well as a degree of musicality and intellectual curiosity. What is certain is that little can be done without the support of those around us, and I look forward to meeting old and new members alike, so that we can all share in one another's life journeys, sheltering under the wings of the Eternal.
Nathan Godleman, September 2016