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Death of Leslie Green

Last updated: 2003-10-07

On hearing of the death of Leslie Green, the Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks paid the following tribute:

"There was one reason why I came to Golders Green as my first rabbinical position.  It was Leslie Green.  Even on that brief acquaintance, he stood out as a man of unshakable integrity, who loved Judaism, loved the Golders Green community, and was utterly, selflessly, devoted to serving it.  That judgement was confirmed many times over the subsequent years. He was the finest Honorary Officer a young rabbi could possibly have. He sought the best for Elaine and myself, and the best for the shul. Whenever I was right, he supported me. Whenever I was wrong, he gently steered me in the right direction. He never gave offence, nor could one take offence at anything he did, since he so obviously cared for the honour of Torah, the wellbeing of the congregation, and the future of Jewish life. He was a living role model of what it is to be osek betzarchei tsibbur be-emunah; to be concerned with the needs of the community in faith.

In his later years he suffered two grievous bereavements, losing his beloved daughter Annabelle and his equally beloved wife Sophy. These were terrible blows, yet he bore them with dignity, even though they were the most precious elements of his life. Elaine and I were deeply moved when he was able to join us, this summer, at our daughter Dina’s wedding, the girl he had known since she was a baby. It was the last time we saw him, and perhaps the simchah lifted him for a moment, because, despite his age and afflictions, the smile he gave us was the Leslie Green we had known 25 years earlier, who brought such friendship to us, and such honour to the Jewish people.

Tzadikim be-mitatam nikraim chayim: the righteous, even in their death, are called living, because a trace of them remains. The good they do lives after them; their influence leaves a mark on many lives. For Elaine and myself, that is true of Leslie Green. We will never enter the shul in Dunstan Road without thinking of him, and thanking G-d that we had the privilege of knowing him and counting him a cherished friend. And now, he who served the community without rest, has been granted his eternal rest, and we who remain are the mourners. Yehi zikhro barukh, May his memory be an inspiration and a blessing."