Chief Rabbi pays tribute to Ravenswood as it celebrates 60 years of achievement

30 August 2013

Residents and staff were delighted to welcome the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks and his wife
Lady Sacks to celebrate Ravenswood’s 60th anniversary. The event held in Crowthorne, Berkshire last Thursday was one of his last official engagements as Chief Rabbi’s before his retirement.

Established by four visionary families in 1953 as a school for children and others with learning disabilities, Ravenswood was originally home to just 30 children. Following its merger with Norwood in 1996, Ravenswood is today home to 130 people living in 14 registered care and supported living homes, amongst 120 acres of beautiful countryside.

To the melodic music of a live Kletzmer band, the Chief Rabbi, along with Rabbi Plancey, a member of Norwood’s Advisory Council carried Sifrei Torah under a chuppah held by Ronnie Harris, Norwood’s Vice President, Romie Tager whose parents were a founding family of Ravenswood, Rabbi Salasnik and Rabbi Coton, into Ravenswood’s newly located shul. Following this, Ronnie Harris, along with Ravenswood resident, Russell Gurduk, welcomed guests to this prestigious event that included eminent Rabbonim, trustees, volunteers, residents and their families.

Elaine Kerr, Norwood’s Chief Executive then welcomed the Chief Rabbi and Lady Sacks. Elaine spoke about how Norwood empowers people to take control of their own lives, irrespective of their abilities, and said: "It’s heart-warming to see the inspirational accomplishments of the Ravenswood community. Even now as we are gathered here for this simcha, Ravenswood has representatives at the Special Olympics GB." She went on to thank the Chief Rabbi for joining in the celebrations and wished him a happy, healthy and fruitful retirement.

Lord Sacks said: "As one of my last official engagements as Chief Rabbi, what an honour and privilege it is to end on a high like this. Any community that has an organisation like Norwood within it should be incredibly proud. Norwood is one of the great organisations of the Jewish world."

The celebrations continued into the afternoon as residents and their families enjoyed a garden party with music and entertainment.