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You are here: About - Our Lay Team

Richard Gold, Joint Chair

Richard and his family have been members of New North London for around 30 years.  He has been increasingly involved in synagogue activities including long stints as a security supervisor and on the traditional service greeters rota.  He was part of the team that worked on developing the synagogue's strategic plan published in 2012 and also worked with Masorti Europe and Masorti Olami (the Masorti world-wide movement) helping them with their strategic planning.  Richard is also part of the Intermezzo team providing accessible and enjoyable lunch-time concerts in the Beit Knesset.  His aim is to help the synagogue to develop and change organically and to ensure that all voices are equally heard and equally respected.


Paul Harris, Joint Chair

Paul joined NNLS in 2010 having previously been a member of Kol Nefesh Masorti. His family are involved in different activities in the synagogue and Masorti Judaism. He joined Council in 2015 as the Masorti Judaism Representative and enjoyed his role both on Council and the Masorti Judaism Board. He is part of the sub group set up to help develop the synagogue strategy from 2018 and has been involved in a number of community conversations about the synagogue. As the NNLS rep on the Masorti board, he helped organise the Annual dinner and was involved in the Yellow Candle Yom HaShoah Memorial Project. He is excited about being co-chair of such a vibrant dynamic community. His aim is continue the work already ongoing regarding the new strategy and governance, to be part of the Synagogue’s adjustment to the changing needs of the community and to help engage with as many potential volunteers as possible to add to the excellent pool already in existence.


Harriet Oppenheimer, Vice Chair

Harriet has been a member of NNLS for nearly 20 years, and has had three children growing up in the community through Gan Alon, cheder, Haderech, b'nei mitzvah and hadrachah.  She is a founder member of Assif, served as its Chair for a number of years, and has been on Council for the last two years working with the Chairs, Trustees, and the NNLS Rabbinic and professional teams to coordinate a strategic review. Harriet is now working with the team to help implement the new strategic plan that emerged from that process. Professionally, Harriet is a management consultant at PA Consulting.


Mark Flenner, Treasurer

Mark and his family are regular attendees at our traditional services.  Mark was appointed as treasurer of NNLS in 2018 and brings a rich blend of financial and commercial experience to the role so helping NNLS to review its financial performance. Mark will look to reinforce the financial and systems control environment to ensure that NNLS has appropriate, robust and effective financial controls in place as the shul continues to grow.  Feel free to contact him if you have any matters relating to the finances of NNLS you may wish to discuss. His day job is as a partner at the professional services firm, KPMG where he leads the Financial Services Mergers and Acquisitions team across the UK.


Colin Grazin, Honorary Secretary

Colin is a former Solicitor and retired Employment Judge.  He and his wife Elaine moved from Leeds to Millbrook Park in October 2016, for family reasons. Prior to that move, he was a frequent visitor to NNLS, as a guest of his daughter Natalie. He has attended the Assif service regularly since joining NNLS. Whilst he was living in in Leeds, he was an Honorary Officer and committee member of major Jewish Charities. He has latterly developed an expertise in charity governance and has drafted governance documents for a number of national Jewish charities. Having been made very welcome within NNLS, he now hopes to give something back to the community.


Martin Burstyn

Martin and his family  have been members of NNLS for nearly 20 years. His two sons were bar mitzvah here and the older one was a mainstay of Noam in his day. Another older son lives in Canada and celebrated his aufruf  in NNLS. The ethos and values that both the lay and professional teams display and the way the community undertakes to implement them through for example the refugee support and work in the outside community, are ones to which he aspires.  This is simply summed up in the first of the Values and Vision – “to create a supportive and inclusive community, caring for each other throughout life’s journey”


Karen Horwitz, Education

Karen joined NNLS around 2009 and enjoys shabbat, chaggim and simchas with her family and friends in the community. Karen is the council member for education on council and will work closely with Daniella Grieber who will be chairing the education committee as well as Niki Jackson and the professional education team at NNLS. Karen had an active youth movement background (Habonim Dror) and after university she worked as a Youth worker for Habo Southern Africa. Her 2 boys are now working their way through the ranks of NNLS youth provision.


Abi Levitt

Abi Levitt joined NNLS in 1996 when her children were 5, 3, 3. She is currently serving on Management and Council as Honorary Secretary, and also provides advice on various areas of communication strategy. Abi is Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Norwood.


Sarah Miller, Masorti Judaism

Sarah joined NNLS in 2003 and has become an increasingly keen attendee of Shabbat and Haggim services at the synagogue with her family. With a background in youth movements and as a UJS full time officer in her youth, Sarah has continued to work in the field of Hadracha, now working as a leadership and organisational consultant and coach across all sectors. She is also training to be a psychoanalyst and works as an honorary psychotherapist. Sarah has recently taken on responsibility for liaison with Masorti Judaism and joined the Management Group.


Paul Orchover, Security

Paul has been a member of the shul since moving to Finchley 10 years ago. His wife is a long-standing member of NNLS and they were married in the Manor House. He and his family are involved in a variety of activities in the synagogue and in Masorti Judaism, including leyning in the Hakol Olin service. He has recently joined the Council with the Security portfolio and is looking forward to getting stuck in to his role. Paul is Operations Director for an Office Products company.


Jonathan Polin, Services

Jonathan joined NNLS in 2010 and soon became a shammas in the traditional service and now leads that team.  His day (and night) job is as a corporate partner at the city law firm, Howard Kennedy. He is supported by his wonderful wife ,Suzy, and his three adult children.


Alison Richardson, Pastoral Care

Alison and her family have been active members of NNLS for over 20 years during which time her 2 oldest sons have graduated through Noam and leadership and her youngest (now 15) is helping with running the children’s services. Alison has previously been on Council and Management when she was responsible for new members strategy. In the past year she has been involved in helping to shape the community's pastoral provision, which is a subject close to her heart and is keen to support this further with her role on Council.  Alison is a qualitative researcher specialising in health and sensitive issues research and is also a qualified coach.


Richard Stephens, Social and Recreational

Richard and his family joined NNLS in 2000. He has been told that his role on Council is ‘Minister of Fun”. Richard is a partner in a firm of solicitors. He specialises in Employment Law.


Nicki Tiefenbrun, Community Development

Nicki has been a member of NNLS for 8 years and enjoys being part of such a vibrant community. Her shul engagement encompasses Assif services, new members committee, b'nai mitzvah Liaison and neighbourhood champions as well as the ferrying of her kids to and from Haderech, hadracha programmes and shabbatonim on a regular basis.  She has been involved in a lay and professional capacity in the Jewish community and not for profit sector for over 20 years in event management, fundraising and volunteer development.


Liron Velleman, Young Adults

Liron has been an NNLS member since he was a young child and grew up through the different children and youth provisions that the Shul has to offer, from learning to leyn and taking services in Children Services to being a Co-Chair of the Youth Council and playing his part in the Asylum Seekers Drop-In Centre. Liron is particularly interested in ensuring that young adults feel that they have a place in our NNLS community, whether in our services, our educational and social events or the work we do with wider society.


Debra Virchis

Debra joined NNLS when she and Andres got married in 1992.  Her involvement in the community includes chairing some fundraising events such as a fashion show, being previously on Council, taking more children’s services than she would care to remember, being the buggy rep at the Drop In and a Gan Alon parent more than once.  More recently she has focused on services as a Shammes and Chair of the Traditional Minyan, whilst also enjoying leyning in Hakol Olin. Debra has recently taken over as Chair of Services Committee and is on Council and Management.


Adam Wagner, Tikkun Olam

Adam and his family joined the shul four years ago. He regularly runs children’s services. He is a human rights lawyer by profession and volunteers at the Asylum Seekers’ Drop In on a regular basis, offering informal legal help. In 2018 he took on the Tikkun Olam brief on the Shul Council.


Miriam Farbey, Board of Deputies Representative

Miriam joined NNLS in 2015 with her son, who would rather be at Noam than anywhere else. She is looking forward to her role representing NNLS's egalitarian and pluralist values, and the broad views of our members on the Board of Deputies. Professionally, she is a children's book publisher at a global publishing company and hopes that her experience of content and campaigns, especially in engaging young adults, can be put to good use. If you have any questions or views about the Board, please don't hesitate to be in touch.


Ivan Sloboda, Board of Deputies Representative

Ivan and his family joined the synagogue around 1992. He presented at an NNLS event on Hungarian Jewry and twinned our shul with the community in Teplice in the Czech Republic (from where one of our Torah Scrolls possibly originates). For the last 12 years Ivan has represented NNLS or Masorti Judaism at the Board of Deputies, where he has been a member of its International Division and the primary source of expertise on the often vulnerable communities of Central and Eastern Europe. He has also represented the Board on the UK Governmental Group (International Tracing Service) overseeing the management of Holocaust records by Germany. Ivan was formerly a Director of a satellite communications company and now runs a translation agency.