A Wing and A Prayer: My Life and Times by Malcolm Weisman

A Wing and A Prayer: My Life and Times by Malcolm Weisman

Reverend Malcolm Weisman OBE played a unique role in Anglo Jewry for nearly three quarters of a century. As an RAF Chaplain from 1957 and a Barrister at Law from 1961, he drove his car the length and breadth of the country and travelled the world. At every opportunity he sought out pockets of Jews in isolated places and we learn how, as the Chief Rabbi’ s Minister for Small Communities (a role he virtually carved out for himself) his insight and empathy helped them to lead a fulfilled, Jewish, spiritual and social life, far away from the Jewish mainstream. Malcolm tells his story of growing up in Stoke Newington in the 1930s and 40s, of evacuation, of his teenage years learning with Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld, and of his law studies and pranks at Oxford University.

He relates how National Service led him to become a minister, and how his non-military ‘ flock’ grew from a dozen people in Peterborough to many thousands, as he crisscrossed the country to dozens of communities on an almost daily basis from Aberdeen to Jersey and Bristol to Norwich – each centre having its own history and its own struggles. We learn of his sustained interfaith activity, military connections and international travels with NATO and the Commonwealth Jewish Council and his meetings with Royalty. There is heartfelt testimony from those faraway places, of their great regard and love for Malcolm, and the way that he changed their lives. Malcolm’ s dedicated activity in all these spheres makes for a fascinating read.

Year first published: 2023

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