In times of gloom, Beth Shalom can be relied upon to come up with a simcha. And so it was that last Shabbat (19 Nov 2016), thanks to the initiative of Mike Gait, we celebrated the founding of the Cambridge Reform Jewish Community in October 1976 and 35 years of Beth Shalom in May 1981.
A service led by Shoshana Goldhill included many of those original pioneers: Louise Sanders, Janet Berkman whose beautiful soprano voice once graced the choir at the Chagim and Michael Brown who, together with his wife, Jenny, habitually hosted many Friday evening Shabbat services. Nicholas de Lange, who played an important role in the early days, was also present.
For Mike Gait himself, the occasion marked a significant milestone in the life of Reform Judaism in Cambridge. He recalled that 35 years ago when Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue was founded, the reality of finding a home in a new building, was just a dream. But Mike, who was able to welcome the youngest addition to his family to the service, affirmed how privileged he felt both to have dreamed that dream and to have witnessed its remarkable realisation.