Community.
Is belonging

As an inclusive Liberal Synagogue, we place belonging and
communal prayer, care and shared Jewish experience
at our heart.

Leading
Our Rabbis

Our rabbis are the public face of The Ark Synagogue. We are proud that with Rabbi Aaron Goldstein and Rabbi Lea Mühlstein we have a team of Senior Rabbis who provide leadership, spiritual guidance and care. Their work is augmented by the support that our Emeritus Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein continues to provide.

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein
Rabbi Lea Mühlstein
Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein
Our Staff

We are blessed to have a wonderful staff team who ensure the smooth running of our synagogue. Whether you are looking for pastoral support, have a question about a life cycle event, want to know more about your membership or need help with a payment: Omar, Sue, Debbie, Jean, Ruth and Mary will be happy to help. And when you visit us, you will see that our  caretakers, Paul and David, and our cleaner, Maria, keep the building running beautifully.

Our Board

Our Synagogue is governed by a Board of Directors. All of our board members generously volunteer their time to support the good governance and smooth running of our Synagogue and its premises. Many share their professional expertise ensuring access to a body of expert knowledge to assist our operation.

Our Governance

The Ark Synagogue is a working name of The Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue. We are a company limited by guarantee (registered in England and Wales No 09349392). We are also a registered charity (charity no 1160487).

Caring
Our Care Team

We are proud of our team of volunteers, who work alongside our care coordinator Omar Portillo and our rabbis in caring for our members. From practical support with daily tasks to advice for carers, our team is here to address care needs in a holistic approach. By working with key partners such as Jewish Care and JAMI, we are able to refer our members to receive specialist support.

Singing for the Soul

Established initially as a singing group to support those affected by memory loss and their carers, our group quickly expanded to welcome all for whom singing improves their mental wellbeing. Singers of all ability and none are most welcome. The group currently meets weekly on Mondays at 11am online. If you are interested in attending, please contact Omar.

Gentle Yoga

Combining relaxation techniques and gentle yoga poses, our chair yoga class is suitable for everyone irrespective of their age or physical ability. Our instructor Dyana will provide modifications to ensure that all can participate equally. The group currently meets weekly on Tuesdays at 11am online. If you are interested in attending, please contact Omar.

Memory Matters

Memory Matters is an outreach club offered to people who live in the surrounding areas to support people experiencing memory loss and other difficulties. It is organised in partnership with Jewish Care. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of our synagogue building, the club is not currently meeting. However, if you are interested in this programme and would like to know more, please contact Omar.

Shared Reading

Our Shared Reading group meets weekly on Wednesdays at 3:15pm online to share short stories or poetry with an opportunity to discuss the texts. This is not a book club and no preparatory reading is required. Just join and bring your love for literature along. If you are interested in attending, please contact Omar.

Bereavement Support Group

Our award-winning Bereavement Support Group supports members who have suffered the loss of a loved one. The specially trained team of volunteers is assisted by a professional psychotherapist and provides exceptional care and support. If you are grappling with a bereavement, whether recent or in the past, please don’t hesitate to contact our rabbis to explore how we might support you.

Exploring
Cheder

Cheder at NPLS is a friendly, enjoyable and educational time for the children who take part in this important introduction to Jewish life. We provide classes for children from reception to year 10 during term time Saturday mornings and children study both Hebrew and Jewish studies. At the moment, we sadly are not able to run in-person classes but are happy to learn online together. Want to find out more, contact Rabbi Lea.

Exploring Judaism

Whether you are on the path to becoming Jewish or simply wish to broaden your knowledge, everyone who is interested in learning more about Judaism is welcome to join our Exploring Judaism course. The course covers the main areas of Jewish learning, including Jewish thought, history and practice. If you are interested in joining the course or are interested  in conversion, please contact our rabbis.

Exploring Hebrew

Want to unlock the ancient language of the Jewish people? Whether you are an absolute beginner, wanting to improve your reading fluency or work on being able to translate our ancient texts, we have a Hebrew course to suit your needs as you can choose from five different levels or even attend more than one class. Classes meet weekly. Contact us to find out more.

Adult Learning

From one-off events such as book launches and lectures by visiting scholars to longer courses that allow you to dive deeper into the ocean of our Jewish textual tradition to our weekly Parashat Hashavuah (Torah portion of the week) class, we offer a wide range of adult learning opportunities. Visit what’s on to see details of upcoming events.

Life Rituals
Baby Blessings and Brit Milah

We love to celebrate new life and welcome babies into our community with a personal Baby Blessing in synagogue. If are interested in creating a bespoke ritual for welcoming a child into this world or if you are expecting a boy and wish to speak to one of our Association of Reform and Liberal Mohalim to arrange a brit milah (circumcision), please contact our rabbis.

Bar / Bat / B' Mitzvah

We believe that a B’ Mitzvah should be a spiritual, communal and celebratory rite-of-passage for teenagers. In addition to the kids learning alongside their peers in our cheder, our B’ Mitzvah experience offers families one-on-one time with our Rabbis as well as a series of dynamic rabbi-led sessions for the class members, their parents and grandparents. Most families choose to celebrate their B’ Mitzvah as part of our regular Shabbat morning services. To find out more, contact our rabbis.

Kabbalat Torah

One of the early innovations of Liberal Judaism was the introduction of Kabbalat Torah (confirmation) at age 15, which in the early days replaced B’ Mitzvah. Today, Kabbalat Torah (KT) gives our young people the opportunity to explore their Jewish identity along with their peers in more depth. At the conclusion of the KT process, the class leads a creative Friday night service as well as the whole Shabbat morning service. Graduates are encouraged to continue their Jewish education as assistant teachers in the Cheder as KT is all about being a part and participating in the Community. To watch our first ever, Pandemic KT Friday night service, click here.

Mezuzah bashing, birthdays and anniversaries

We love supporting individuals and households with creative, meaningful rituals in the synagogue or in members’ homes. Mezuzah bashings have been a real hit (literally!) for those buying or moving into their first or new home. Celebrations of birthdays or anniversaries during our services are an uplifting communal experience, celebrating different stages of life. Simply contact our rabbis f you want to discuss any novel thoughts you may have for blessings.

Marriage

Working with couples (whether queer or straight) to create their perfect wedding ceremony is a pleasure for our rabbis. By English Law we are registered to perform marriages between two Jews. For mixed faith couples, we offer a wedding blessing ceremony following a civil marriage. Our ceremonies are personalised to the couple, a balance between what is ‘traditional’ and that which is more personal. Helping create a covenant of love is immensely important to us, as it is to couples, so contact us to speak to one of our rabbis to discuss your plans.

Death

We are here to support you when a death has occurred in your family. Members of our Liberal Judaism Funeral Scheme have the choice between traditional burial and woodland burial at Edgwarebury and Cheshunt Cemeteries and cremation. Please contact Ronnie King of Michael King Funeral Directors (24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including Bank Holidays and Jewish Festivals) on 020 8368 7453 or 07595 956 936 in the event of a death. Ronnie will then inform the rabbis as soon as is practicable.

Our rabbis are also available to officiate at shivas, stone settings and memorial services. They also officiate at non-member funerals. Please contact the rabbis to discuss how we can best support you.

Partnerships
Local Community

We are proud that our synagogue is a key contributor to the local community be it through our support for the Hillingdon Foodbank, the local homeless charity, New Hope, our membership in Harrow Citizens or through our participation in local interfaith events to name just a few examples. Established by members of our Synagogue as Northwood Holocaust Memorial Events, we continue to support the work of Holocaust Learning UK, which provides thousands of local school pupils the opportunity to visit our synagogue and learn lessons from the Holocaust.

Wider Community

Our rabbis and members take an active role in the wider Jewish community as well as in wider society. We are represented on the boards of Liberal Judaism, the Board of Deputies of British Jews as well as Leo Baeck College, London. We are proud of our long history with The Bike Project, an award winning charity that refurbishes second-hand bikes and unites the bikes with refugees and asylum seekers around the UK.

Czech and Slovak Heritage

Our synagogue enjoys a very special relationship with Jewish communities in the Czech and Slovak Republics as well as with towns that used to have a thriving Jewish community and whose history we seek to preserve. The Scrolls that we use in our services originate from towns across Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. You can read the full story of our history and relationship here.

Israel

We are committed as a community to supporting the State of Israel and its citizens to create a society true to the vision of its founders: to develop the Land for the benefit of all its inhabitants, and to implement the Prophetic ideals of liberty and justice. We encourage all of our members to be well-informed and provide opportunities to engage with our rabbis and guests on complex, contemporary issues relating to the State of Israel. We have strategic partnerships with Arzenu (Rabbi Lea is currently its international chair) and the Leo Baeck Education Centre, Haifa (Rabbi Aaron chairs the UK friends of LBEC). To learn more, follow the links or contact our rabbis.

Ukraine

We have a proud history of supporting developing Progressive Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to supporting Progressive Judaism in the Czech and Slovak Republics, we have built a strong relationship with the Progressive Jewish community in Lviv (Lvov), Ukraine. In addition to raising funds to support the community financially, we organise joint activities and regular visits to Lviv so we can nurture our partnership. If you are interested in being involved in this important partnership, please be in touch with Rabbi Aaron.