Redbridge rabbis to lend support to Olympic athletes and visitors

Redbridge rabbis will have a significant presence as chaplains at the Olympic Games, after it was confirmed four will be providing first-hand support to athletes and visitors.

The four that will be in the Olympic Village during the Olympic and Paralympic Games include Rev Gary Newman, of Newbury Park United Synagogue, Wessex Close, Newbury Park; Rabbi Richard Jacobi, of Woodford Liberal Synagogue in Marlborough Road, South Woodford and Rabbi Moshe Muller of the Chabad Lubavitch Centre in Eastern Avenue, Gants Hill.

Rabbi Maurice Michaels of the South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue in Oaks Lane, Newbury Park, is a member of the Olympics Faith Communities Outreach group and will also be a chaplain.

Mr Muller said: “The selection process was really long and involved, with interviews and meetings, but I was really happy when I found out I would have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity last week.”

Although he is yet to learn what much of the role involves, he will be holding services and providing counselling to whoever might need it – from visitors to athletes themselves.

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The 39-year-old rabbi started practising as a student when he was 23, and has 16 years of experience in the role in Redbridge.

“The role will call on my experience as I’ll be faced with a multitude of situations which aren’t specific to being a rabbi and I feel I’ve got a lot to offer as I’ve spoken to a lot of people about a lot of issues throughout the years,” he added.

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“There was an amazing atmosphere in the room when the interviews where held, all people of different faiths really gelled together. It was a taste of what is to come this summer.”

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