Rabbi David J. Goldberg 25 February 1939 - 30 April 2019
As David's wife I was fortunate to share both David's professional life and also in our home together. Others elsewhere have reported on how his death has left them and the wider community with a profound sense of loss. David's contribution was particular and distinctive. "A towering intellect and thinker, outspoken iconclast and prolific writer (who) never compromised his principles" (LJS News - June 2019) This was no less true in our family life too. His loss has re-shaped all our lives and we are the poorer because of it.
I am happy to continue to maintain this his website as a continuing tribute to all he was, and meant, to so many.
Rabbi Dr. David J. Goldberg OBE was Rabbi Emeritus of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London, having served the congregation as Associate then Senior Rabbi since 1975. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, Oxford University, and Trinity College, Dublin and received his Rabbinic Ordination from the Leo Baeck College in 1971.
In a full and varied career which enhanced the reputation of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue as one of the world's leading congregations, he was particularly proud of four 'firsts':
- to have been the first prominent Jew in the UK publicly to call for recognition of legitimate Palestinian rights in an article in The Times in 1978;
- to have been the first rabbi to initiate dialogue meetings between Judaism, Christianity and Islam when the Regent's Park mosque opened in 1978;
- to have been the first Jew to recite Kaddish (the Jewish mourners' prayer) in Westminster Abbey when he co-officiated at the Memorial Service for (Lord) Yehudi Menuhin;
- and to have been the first - and so far as he knew, the only - rabbi ever to have had an article in Wisden, the cricket lovers' bible, or to have been interviewed on Test Match Special!
Active in interfaith work, in 1999 he was awarded the Gold Medallion of The International Council of Christians and Jews for his "Outstanding contribution to interfaith harmony and understanding". In 2004 he was awarded an OBE for his services to interfaith work.
Well-known for his outspoken and radical views and a former chairman of the Rabbinic Conference of the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, and co-chairman of the London Society of Jews and Christians, he contributed regularly on Jewish and Israeli topics to all the major newspapers and journals (e.g. The Times, the Sunday Times, Observer, Guardian, Independent, Mail on Sunday, New Statesman, History Today, etc.)
He wrote, or edited, several books. He co-authored "The Jewish People" (Viking 1989) with Rabbi John Rayner and the Italian translation of "To The Promised Land: A History of Zionist Thought" (Penguin 1996) won the prestigious Premio Iglesias prize in 1999 for best book in the Culture and Politics category.