Sybil Sheridan

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Rabbi Sybil Sheridan
Position Rabbi
Synagogue Wimbledon and District Synagogue (2003–2014)[1][2][3]
Position Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK (2013–present)[4][5]
Organisation The Movement for Reform Judaism
Began 2013[4]
Predecessor Rabbi Mark Goldsmith[4]
Personal details
Born 1953
Bolton, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Denomination Reform Judaism
Spouse Rabbi Jonathan Romain
Children 4
Semicha 1981[6]

Sybil Sheridan (born 1953) is a writer and British Reform rabbi. She is Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK[5] at the Movement for Reform Judaism[4] and was formerly Rabbi of Wimbledon and District Synagogue in south west London, England.[3]

Sheridan has edited two books and contributed to several academic publications. She is a major contributor to interfaith dialogue both nationally and internationally and has a particular interest in Jewish-Muslim dialogue and especially between women. She co-chaired the Home Office International Conference for Women in Judaism and Islam.[7]

She has strong links to Israel and to the educational conference Limmud. She has lectured at Leo Baeck College[8] and the Muslim College, London.[7] She is on the International Editorial Advisory Board of Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues published by Indiana University Press.[9] For eight years she was Jewish chaplain at the University of Roehampton.[10]

Early years[edit]

She was born in Bolton, Lancashire, and grew up as a member of Manchester Reform Synagogue. She read Theology and Religious Studies at Cambridge University, being one of the first two Jews to do so (the other being Walter Rothschild). She then studied at Leo Baeck College and at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, and was ordained as a rabbi in 1981,[6] one of the first women in Europe in the role.[11]

Career[edit]

After four years at Ealing Liberal Synagogue, she took extended maternity leave, during which time she wrote a book of children's stories, lectured at Leo Baeck College, and worked with the Swindon Jewish Community. In 1994 Rabbi Sheridan became Rabbi of the Thames Valley Jewish Community and remained there until her appointment at Wimbledon Synagogue in 2003.[12] She job shared with Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild[1] in that post from 2003[2] until her retirement in early 2014.[3]

In 2011 she produced, with Cantor Zoe Jacobs of Finchley Reform Synagogue, what is thought to be the first major new collection of synagogue music published in the UK for nearly a century. Shirei Ha-t'fillah (Songs of Prayer), a compilation of sheet music and explanatory articles, was published by the Movement for Reform Judaism.[13]

Social justice[edit]

Sheridan has made several visits to Ethiopia to find out about and support the Jews in Gondar.[14][15][16] She was inspired by her visit to set up a new charity, Meketa (Amharic for protection or support),[1] after seeing at first hand the poverty and lack of resources available.[17]

In February 2013 she was one of a group of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders who met at Parliament to urge MPs to support a radical overhaul of the financial system including debt cancellation for the most indebted countries, more progressive taxation and an end to harmful lending.[18]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Jonathan Romain, Rabbi of Maidenhead Synagogue, and they have four children together.[12]

Publications[edit]

  • Stephen Bigger: Creating the Old Testament, Basil Blackwell, 1989. Sheridan contributed two chapters[8]
  • Sybil Sheridan (ed.): Hear our voice: women rabbis tell their stories. Paperback, 203 pages. London: SCM Press, 1994. ISBN 0-334-02583-4
  • Sybil Sheridan: "Are We Prisoners of Our History?" in European Judaism, volume 28, no.2, Autumn 1995, p. 68–72. Berghahn Books Inc. ISSN 0014-3006
  • Sybil Sheridan (ed.): Hear our voice: women in the British rabbinate, Studies in Comparative Religion series. Paperback, 1st North American edition. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1998. ISBN 1-57003-088-X
  • Sybil Sheridan: "History of Women in the Rabbinate: A Communal Case of Amnesia". Lecture delivered at BET DEBORA – European Conference of Women Rabbis, Cantors, Scholars and all Spiritually Interested Jewish Women and Men, Berlin, May 1999[19]
  • Sybil Sheridan: "Human Nature and Destiny" in Seth Daniel Kunin (ed): Themes and Issues in Judaism, World Religions: Themes and Issues, pp. 166–191. New York: Cassell, 2000. ISBN 0-304-33757-9 (hardback); ISBN 0-304-33758-7 (paperback)
  • Sylvia Rothschild and Sybil Sheridan (eds.): Taking Up the Timbrel: The Challenge of Creating Ritual for Jewish Women Today. London: SCM Press, 2000
  • Sybil Sheridan: "Abraham from a Jewish Perspective" in Norman Solomon, Richard Harries, Timothy Winter (eds): Abraham's Children: Jews, Christians and Muslims in Conversation, pp 9–17, London and New York: T & T Clark, 2005. ISBN 0-567-08171-0 (hardback); ISBN 0-567-08161-3 (paperback)
  • Sybil Sheridan: "My first day at Leo Baeck College" in European Judaism, volume 39, no.1, Spring 2006, p. 69. Berghahn Books Inc. ISSN 0014-3006
  • Sybil Sheridan: "Aliza Lavie Tefillat Nashim: Jewish Women's Prayers Throughout The Ages (Book review)", Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues, no.15, Spring 2008, p. 212. Indiana University Press. ISSN: 0793–8934
  • Sybil Sheridan: "What future for the Jews left in Ethiopia?", The Jewish Chronicle, 10 June 2009 [2]
  • Sybil Sheridan: "We must not abandon the Jews left in Ethiopia", The Jewish Chronicle, 26 January 2014 [3]

For young people[edit]

  • Sybil Sheridan, illustrated by Olivia Rayner: Jewish World, Stories from the Religious World series. Paperback, 48 pages. Silver Burdett Press, 1987. ISBN 0-382-09312-7; ISBN 978-0-382-09312-8. The stories include recent historical experience in the Holocaust[20]

Podcasts[edit]

  • Stefanie Sinclair: Regina Jonas: the first female rabbi, Open University, 2013. Includes an interview with Sybil Sheridan [4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sybil Sheridan (10 June 2009). "What future for the Jews left in Ethiopia?". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Sylvia Rothschild". Zoominfo.com. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Rabbi Sybil Sheridan's Farewell Service". Kehillah (Wimbledon and District Synagogue). February 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d Simon Rocker (8 July 2013). "Moving chairs as Reform changes leading posts". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Rabbi Sybil Sheridan: Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK". Movement for Reform Judaism. 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Economic change is about justice, not charity, say faith leaders". Independent Catholic News. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Idols". An-Nisa Society and Leo Baeck College. 17 January 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Seth Daniel Kunin (ed) (2000). Themes and Issues in Judaism. World Religions: Themes and Issues. New York: Cassell. p. vii. 
  9. ^ "About Journal". JSTOR. 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Useful contacts: Chaplaincy team". Student Life. University of Roehampton. p. 29. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  11. ^ "I've always had to prove myself – Rabbi Barbara". Jewish Telegraph. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Our rabbis". Wimbledon and District Synagogue. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  13. ^ Simon Rocker (14 July 2011). "ESongbook is music to the ears of Reform". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  14. ^ Sybil Sheridan (2012). "Ethiopia Blog 2012 – Friday – Blog Post 3". Wimbledon and District Synagogue. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Jean Broadbent (Winter 2011). "Are there still Jews in Ethiopia?". The Anglo-Ethiopian Society. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "Abyot Fray is no longer water free!". Link Ethiopia. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  17. ^ James Preston (7 September 2012). "Race against time to save the lost Jews of Ethiopia". Maidenhead Advertiser. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  18. ^ "Economic change is about justice, not charity, say faith leaders". Independent Catholic News. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  19. ^ Sybil Sheridan. ""History of Women in the Rabbinate: A Communal Case of Amnesia". Lecture delivered at BET DEBORA – European Conference of Women Rabbis, Cantors, Scholars and all Spiritually Interested Jewish Women and Men, Berlin, May 1999". hagalil.com. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  20. ^ Margaret Malett (2008). The Primary English Encyclopaedia (Third ed.). Abingdon, Oxon and New York: Routledge. p. 24. ISBN 0-415-45103-5. 

External links[edit]

  • Official blog
  • Einat Ramon: "Taking Up the Timbrel: The Challenge of Creating Ritual for Jewish Women Today (review)", Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues, Number 7, Spring 2004, pp. 236–239