Reverend Gary Newman retires after 40-year career

After a long and successful career, Reverend Gary Newman is now retiring following 40 years of service.

His career started in his hometown of Southport, where he was the minister and Chazan for seven years. After getting married to his wife Gillian, they moved to Manchester, where he became the Chazan of Higher Prestwich Hebrew Congregation. They then went to Westcliff and stayed for six years, with Reverend Newman being the Chazan and Assistant Minister.

In 2001, Reverend Newman became the minister of Newbury Park Synagogue, and eventually the synagogue merged with Clayhall Synagogue and formed Redbridge United Synagogue. Here, Reverend Newman was the Chazan and Welfare Minister.

Redbridge United Synagogue then merged with Ilford United Synagogue to become Cranbrook United Synagogue, where Reverend Newman has been the Chazan and Welfare Minister until present.

He received an award in 2020 from the BHR University Hospital Trust for two decades of service as the Chaplain at King George Hospital in Goodmayes and Queen Hospital in Romford, where he regularly visited patients, supported them and their families, and helped those who had problems with paperwork. He also provided a lot of help to the United Synagogue’s Burial Society.

He is now bringing his career as a reverend to a close at the age of 62, and looks forward to being able to spend more time with his wife, his four children and four grandchildren.

The Cranbrook community held a farewell party for Reverend Newman, where a number of his close colleagues spoke, including Harold Marco, the original warden of Newbury Park, Bernard Berman and Geoffrey Hartnell, as well as Reverend Newman’s daughter.

Reverend Newman said: “It’s been the most glorious, most wonderful career. I love people. I can’t praise enough the local executives I have worked with, and everyone at Head Office has been magnificent.

The biggest lesson I have learnt from my career is how to love people, to be there for everybody and to be a mensch. I prided myself on trying to go beyond the call of duty. My forte has always been being there for the public and helping the community, which is exceptionally important. But my wife has always been the unsung hero, and always helped me out by doing sick visiting, shiva visiting, and entertaining.

Now that I’m retiring, I look forward to spending time with my wife, our children and our grandchildren. I also want to start learning and going to Shiurim, as well as putting back into the community what the community has given to my wife and I by doing charity work and helping up and coming ministers who need to gain experience in communal life and communal work.

When I had my induction in Newbury Park 24 years ago, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said to me ‘If you love your congregation, your congregation will love you.’ I never forgot those words. And I loved each and every one of my congregations, wherever I was.”

Jo Grose, Chief Executive of the United Synagogue, said: “Forty years is, by any measure, an extraordinary amount of time to dedicate oneself to the Jewish community. During the four decades Reverend Newman, together with his wife, Gillian, have served thousands of Jews from all walks of life across the country, his passion and love have shone through. Visiting people in hospital and leading shiva houses are demanding activities but Reverend Newman has always put supporting others before his own needs. We thank Reverend Newman for his dedication and wish him an enjoyable retirement spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. Thank you from all of us at the United Synagogue.”

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