Rabbi Gershon

Rabbi Cantor Gershon Silins has worked at WLS since 2020, with specific responsibility for our adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah programme and some of our pastoral work with elderly and isolated members. Previously, Rabbi Gershon was on the Rabbinic Team of Liberal Judaism, serving communities in Lincolnshire, Norwich, Stevenage and Manchester. Ordained as a rabbi by Leo Baeck College in 2019, Rabbi Gershon is the first (and, so far, the only) rabbi-cantor in the United Kingdom. Prior to arriving in London, he served as a cantor at Temple Sinai Congregation, Toronto, and before that, at various synagogues across the USA during a long and distinguished career.

Rabbi Gershon works to strengthen our community by sharing his enthusiasm for Jewish language, culture and wisdom in its many forms. He is an enthusiastic educator, teaching on the WLS JPrep (conversion) programme, as well as a variety of popular weekly classes. Outside of WLS, he has taught cantorial studies at the Abraham Geiger College Cantorial School in Berlin and the Levisson Institute in Amsterdam.

Rabbi Gershon has had a passion for singing since childhood and has sung in a wide variety of settings all his life. His essay, “The Discussion of Music in Lawrence A. Hoffman’s The Art of Public Prayer” appeared in The CCAR Journal, reflecting his time serving on the Board of the American Conference of Cantors, and on the Worship and Music Commission for the Union for Reform Judaism. Ordained as a cantor in 1990, Gershon received the degree of Master of Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College in New York. In 2015, he was also awarded the degree of Doctor of Sacred Music (honoris causa) in recognition of his service to the American cantorate.

However, for Gershon, there was always something missing. He loved Jewish music, but he wanted a deeper relationship with Jewish texts. He applied to the rabbinic program at Leo Baeck College, where he was able to immerse himself in the study of Jewish thought, language and literature. Just as importantly, at Leo Baeck College, he found a holy community that sustained and supported him through the dark times of his wife’s illness and untimely death. It is this gentle strength of a caring community which he strives to build through his pastoral encounters with WLS members.

Outside of his rabbinic work, Rabbi Gershon remains an enthusiastic reader of fiction, non-fiction and periodicals, usually several of them simultaneously. He loves singing and listening to an eclectic range of music, and is a member of the London Philharmonic Choir.

To contact Rabbi Gershon please click here, or call his PA, Kathryn Forro, on 020 7535 0259.

Rabbi Gershon's Thought for the Week - 17 September 2021