AFTER almost 65 years in the pulpit, Rabbi Norman Zalud has retired.
But the affable Liverpudlian is determined that he will still be ‘on-call’ for anyone who needs him.
Rabbi Zalud’s remit included Whitefield’s Shaarei Shalom Synagogue, Blackpool Reform Synagogue and Southport and District Reform Synagogue.
A special kiddush in his honour took place at Shaarei Shalom on Shabbat, with guests including David Jacobs, director for partnership at The Movement for Reform Judaism.
“The Reform Movement has decided that I will have the title ‘Emeritus Rabbi,” said Rabbi Zalud.
“I love people and love working with them — I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from it.
“I still want to do as much work as I can. It keeps me going.”
And he will continue his work as a prison chaplain. He serves 11 prisons in the north-west and North Wales and is also Jewish chaplain to Southport and Ormskirk Hospital.
The 85-year-old succeeded Rabbi Warren Elf at Shaarei Shalom in 1998.
He recalled: “I was approached by Maurice Tennant, Eric Cohen and Brian Fink as to whether I would be willing to be rabbi at the congregation, albeit on a part-time basis, as I still served Liverpool Reform Synagogue as their rabbi.
“They negotiated with Liverpool and I accepted.
“My position as emeritus rabbi will mean that, on invitation, I will always be available to be of service.”
Rabbi Zalud may be part of the Reform Movement, but his upbringing was Orthodox.
Born to Polish immigrants Enia and Jacob, he knew he wanted to be a rabbi from a young age.
Rabbi Zalud trained as a cantor at Guildhall School of Music and then at Jews College, where he received a minister’s qualification before attending Leo Baeck College, London.
From there, he became a junior minister and cantor in Allerton and Birkenhead, before spending five years at the Manchester Reform Congregation (Jackson’s Row) under Rabbi Percy Selvin Goldberg.
It was while there he met Barbara (nee Rosenblum), a former beauty queen, who was young membership secretary.
They married in March, 1965, and had three children — Richard, Harvey and David.
Tragically, Richard died from a brain tumour when he was just two.
Then Rabbi Zalud moved to the Liverpool Progressive Synagogue (now the Liverpool Reform Synagogue), where he stayed for 31 years.
Rabbi Zalud, whose sister, Eve Robinson, lives in Blundellsands, Merseyside, was initially a reverend, before he gained semicha from the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues in 1993.
He was also a brigade officer and chaplain for many years with the Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade.
Away from his communal work, Rabbi Zalud is a big keep-fit enthusiast.
He regularly weight trains, runs and swims in his spare time.