Rabbi walks the extra mile to lead shul service

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Rabbi walks the extra mile to lead shul service

Rabbi Zalmy Brackman has walked to Leytonstone and Wanstead Synagogue every week for more than a year to stop it from facing closure

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

Rabbi Zalmy Blackman, with two of his sons
Rabbi Zalmy Blackman, with two of his sons

Members of a shul threatened with closure completed a sponsored walk to raise funds for their community and pay tribute to the rabbi who helped them – recreating the nine-mile walk he makes every Shabbat to lead their service.

Stamford Hill-based Rabbi Zalmy Brackman has walked to Leytonstone and Wanstead Synagogue (LAWS) every week for more than a year – apart from the High Holy Days – having been prompted to do so after it had been faced with closure, due to a lack of numbers.

Answering a call to officiate services, the 31-year-old said: “I first started going once a month, and there was no minyan. That became twice a month, then every week, but we still couldn’t get ten men. However, as the weeks passed, more people started attending, and I’m glad to say we now have a minyan.”

Seeing a rise in membership since his intervention, the father-of-four enjoys the 75-minute walk, saying how it offers some “lovely scenery”, and thanks his wife Chaia, who looks after their four sons while he’s out.

members of LAWS, recreating the rabbi’s walk to raise funds for the synagogue

Enjoying what he does, he’s also glad to have had the opportunity to help. “Part of the Lubavitch philosophy is helping out the [Jewish] community and that’s what this allows me to do”, he says.

To celebrate his actions – and raise essential funds for the synagogue, 10 members of LAWS retraced his steps, where they were welcomed by the Chabad Lubavitch community, davened mincha and maariv and joined a cross-community farbrengen (Chasidic gathering).

Looking forward to continuing his walks and helping the synagogue prosper, Rabbi Brackman added: “Hopefully I’ll be able to do so. I enjoy it, everyone is very friendly and welcoming and it serves a great cause.”


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: