Rabbi Julia Babette Sarah Neuberger, Baroness Neuberger, DBE (née Schwab; born 27 February 1950) is a member of the British House of Lords. She formerly took the Liberal Democrat whip, but resigned from the party and joined the Crossbenches in September 2011 upon becoming the full-time Senior Rabbi to the West London Synagogue.
Early life and education
Julia Schwab was born on 27 February 1950 to Walter and Liesel ("Alice") Schwab. She attended South Hampstead High School and Newnham College, Cambridge, where she studied Assyriology at first. After she was refused entry to Turkey because she was British and to Iraq, because she was Jewish, she had to change her subject and started studying Hebrew, her subsidiary language, full time. Her lecturer at Cambridge, Nicholas de Lange, suggested she should become a Rabbi. She obtained her Rabbinic Diploma at Leo Baeck College, London, where she taught from 1977–97. She was Chancellor of the University of Ulster from 1994–2000.
Her father was born in Britain to German Jewish immigrants who arrived before the First World War. Her mother was a refugee from Nazi Germany, arriving at age 22 in 1937. The Schwab Trust was set up in their name, to help support and educate young refugees and asylum seekers. In 2016, the Baroness stated she was applying for a German passport.
Neuberger was Britain's second female rabbi after Jackie Tabick, and the first to have her own synagogue. She was rabbi of the South London Liberal Synagogue from 1977 to 1989 and is President of West Central Liberal Synagogue. On 1 February 2011, the West London Synagogue (a Movement for Reform Judaism synagogue) announced that she had been appointed as Senior Rabbi of the synagogue.
Voluntary sector activity
Neuberger was Chair of Camden and Islington Community Health Services NHS Trust from 1992 to 1997, and Chief Executive of the King's Fund from 1997 to 2004. Who's Who lists a large number of voluntary and philanthropic roles she has undertaken. Her book, The Moral State We're In, a study of morality and public policy in modern Britain (ISBN 0-00-718167-1), was published in 2005. The title is an allusion to Will Hutton's 1997 book, The State We're In.
Political and parliamentary roles
She was appointed a DBE in the New Year Honours of 2003. In June 2004 she was created a life peer as Baroness Neuberger, of Primrose Hill in the London Borough of Camden. She served as a Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson from 2004 to 2007. On 29 June 2007, Baroness Neuberger was appointed by the incoming Prime Minister Gordon Brown as the government's champion of volunteering. She resigned from the Liberal Democrats upon becoming Senior Rabbi of the West London Synagogue.
Personal life and family relationships
Julia Schwab married Professor Anthony Neuberger. They have two adult children, a son and a daughter. Anthony Neuberger is the son of Professor Albert Neuberger, and the brother of Professors Michael and James Neuberger, as well as Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
Controversy over Northern Ireland schools
In 1997 she criticised education in Northern Ireland as sectarian at the opening of Loughview Integrated Primary School. The Irish News claimed she had criticised Catholic schools as sectarian, leading to criticism from the Director of the Catholic Council for Maintained Schools. However, she said that the report from the Irish News had given a misleading impression and that she had been quoted out of context:
|“||In fact, I think in what I actually said at the opening I didn't mention Catholic schools. I think I actually mentioned Protestant, Muslim and Jewish but then I was interviewed afterwards and I certainly said to the reporter that what I said applied just as much to Catholic schools as to Protestant or Jewish or Muslim or whatever.||”|
|— Rabbi Julia Neuberger Irish News – 22 September 1997|
In January 2013, Neuberger was appointed chair of an Independent Review of the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient. The impartiality of the appointment was questioned by some of the bereaved families, due to her previous endorsement of the pathway, which was written by Dr John Ellershaw, medical director of the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool, in a 2003 BMJ article, and her widely publicised support of the Marie Curie Institute. The results of the review were published in July 2013; accepting the review's recommendations, the government advised that NHS hospitals should phase out the use of the LCP.
Neuberger was elected vice-president of Attend, a charity that supports and expands the roles volunteers play in creating healthy communities, in 2006 and held the position until she retired in 2011.
Titles and honours
- Miss Julia Schwab (1950–marriage)
- Mrs Anthony Neuberger (marriage–2003)
- Rabbi Julia Neuberger (1977–2003)
- Rabbi Dame Julia Neuberger DBE (2003–2004)
- Rabbi The Rt Hon The Baroness Neuberger DBE (2004–)
- The Story of Judaism (for children), 1986, 2nd edn 1988.
- Days of Decision (Edited four in series), 1987.
- Caring for Dying Patients of Different Faiths, 1987, 3rd edn 2004 (edited, with John A. White).
- A Necessary End, 1991.
- Whatever’s Happening to Women?, 1991.
- Ethics and Healthcare: the role of Research Ethics Committees in the UK, 1992.
- The Things That Matter (anthology of women’s spiritual poetry, Edited by JN), 1993.
- On Being Jewish, 1995.
- Dying Well: a guide to enabling a better death, 1999, 2nd edn 2004.
- Hidden Assets: values and decision-making in the NHS today, (ed with Bill New), 2002.
- The Moral State We’re In, 2005.
- Report on Volunteering, March 2008.
- "Rabbi Julia Neuberger". West London Synagogue. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Weiss, Ruth. "Interview with Rabbi Julia Neuberger, the first female rabbi in Great Britain who had her own synagogue" (January 9, 1987) [audio recording]. Personenarchiv Ruth Weiss, ID: TPA.43 165. Basler Afrika Bibliographien (BAB).
- Rabbi Julia Neuberger, DBE, Zoominfo
- "The Schwab and Westheimer Trusts homepage". Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- Sampson, Katie (1 October 1997). "I work for: Julia Neuberger". www.independent.co.uk. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- Appointment as "Volunteering Tsar", on 10 Downing Street website 29 June 2007. Archived 1 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Report of Neuberger's forthcoming speech on Volunteering, in The Guardian, 10 March 2008.". the Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- Report on Volunteering, March 2008 (PDF)
- Anthony Neuberger profile from Warwick Business School
- Thursday 17 April 1997, Conflict Archive on the Internet
- "Catholic schools are sectarian says chancellor", Anna-Marie McFaul, Irish News, 17 April 2007
- "UU 'washes hands' of chancellor", Anna-Marie McFaul, Irish News, 19 April 2007
- "Rabbi says report was misleading"
- "Neuberger defends 'sectarian' comments", Peter McVerry, 22 September 1997
- UU Chancellor defends comments on single denomination schools Archived 3 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine., The IE Professional #120b, 23 September 1997
- Ellershaw, J; Ward, C (2003). "Care of the dying patient: the last hours or days of life". BMJ. 326: 30–4. PMC . PMID 12511460. doi:10.1136/bmj.326.7379.30.
- Independent report: Review of Liverpool Care Pathway for dying patients - Department of Health, 15 July 2013.
- "Tánaiste Appoints two New Board members to Vhi Healthcare" Vhi press release, 1 February 2005