I have held a number of key positions in Diaspora Jewry as a Communal Rabbi for over 36 years, including as Rabbi of both Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities in the UK and Hong Kong. Since making Israel our home in 2010 I established Yiftach Consultants on community development and pastoral care. I take a very keen interest in relations between Israel and the Diaspora and especially in Israel Advocacy. I have spent a life time in helping individuals to build and strengthen their Jewish spiritual identity; and developing an expertise in community crisis management.
My last position was as the Rabbi of Childwall Hebrew Congregation in Liverpool. I together with my wife Anna came in March 2016 for two years (which was extended to three years) to lead the community through transition resulting from plans to build a new synagogue building.
I was also the Senior Hospital Chaplain of the Visitation Committee; Rabbi of the Wembley United Synagogue, London; Rabbi of the former Withington Congregation of Spanish & Portuguese Jews, Manchester; Rabbi of Ohel Leah Synagogue, Hong Kong; Consultant Rabbi of Bevis Marks; a member of the Chief Rabbi’s Cabinet with responsibility for welfare issues; and Honorary Secretary of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue.
My academic achievements include Semicha from the Shehebar Sephardic Center, Jerusalem; B.Ed from Manchester Metropolitan University; MA (with merit) on Healthcare Chaplaincy from University of Leeds; PhD from Leeds Beckett University, on “A Critical Examination of Patient-Centred Spiritual Care from a Jewish Perspective: Implications for chaplaincy and spiritual care.” In 1996 I was the last recepient of the Sir Whaley Cohen Scholarship with which I examined Jewish hospital chaplaincy in the United States.
I was born in Holland in 1952, brought up in Zimbabwe, and came to London in 1969 to study at the Judith, Lady Montefiore College.
I was editor of Hakshiva, a Rabbinic Journal of the Rabbinical Council of the Provinces; contributed to “Spirituality in Health Care Contexts” edited by Helen Orchard. (Jessica Kingsley Publishers); and “Prayers for Healing” (US Visitation Committee).
I am married to Anna Leon. She was a civil servant at the Board of Trade International and a JP for the Middlesex area and the City of Manchester. We have two children - Abigail and Joshua, and ten grandchildren
I continue to contribute in the field of chaplaincy and sit on review boards of various academic chaplaincy journals. I also contribute to various international Zoom forums.
The importance of spiritual-pastoral care
PhD - Patient Centred Spiritual Care from a Jewish Perspective - Leeds Becket University
Israel - Diaspora relations
Personal and community crisis resolution
M.A (with merit) - Healthcare CHaplaincy
University of Leeds
B.Ed - Manchester Metropolitan University
Semicha - Shehebar Sephardi Centre