Mizrachi connects the community to Israel through a range of innovative and educational programs.
We are the UK's leading framework for religious Zionism. Founded in 1902 our goal is to strengthen Jewish identity and support Israel where it is most needed.
What is Mizrachi
Mizrachi (an acronym for Merkaz Ruchani or "spiritual centre") was founded in 1902 in Vilna at a world conference of religious Zionists called by Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines.
Mizrachi believes that the Torah should be at the centre of Zionism and also sees Jewish nationalism as a tool for achieving religious objectives. Mizrachi played a role prior to the creation of the State of Israel in building a network of religious schools that exist to this day.
Major figures in the Religious Zionist Movement include Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook who became the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Palestine in 1924 and tried to reconcile Zionism with Orthodox Judaism.
Today in the UK, Mizrachi runs several educational and community programmes, promoting and strengthening the Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel. Mizrachi UK is focused on educating the community in both Religion and Zionism and how they blend together. Our activities include running educational activities such as guest speaker trips from top rabbinical and political figures, monthly lunch and learn sessions in the city and evening learning sessions in local communities, as well as social events surrounding the State of Israel. For example, in the past we have run film screenings of Israeli films and dinner evenings with Israeli music.
We are also working together with other communal organisations to transform the way the Jewish community works by training up dynamic and inspirational leaders and placing them within varying roles in the community.
Mizrachi UK is driven by the core principle that ‘Torah should be at the centre of Zionism’ and this is what drives our community-driven programming. Through top quality social and educational programming we believe that we can strengthen the communities’ Jewish identity and help to cultivate a strong and unwavering connection to the Land of Israel.
Rabbi Shaw – CEO
Rabbi Shaw is no stranger to leadership and brings with him 15 years’ experience as Community Development Rabbi at Stanmore and Canons Park United Synagogue where he has been credited with transforming the local community’s work with its youth and young families. He has also been a leading figure in the United Synagogue’s central organisation for more than a decade and was Director of their Living & Learning department. Rabbi Shaw lives in Edgware and is married with two children.
David Reuben – Director of Programming
David grew up in Manchester and went to King David High school. After finishing school he learnt at Yeshivat HaKotel before going to university in Birmingham to study marketing. Whilst at university he took a year out to work as Svivot Co-Ordinator, Communities liaison, for Bnei Akiva, the youth movement to which he returned after completing his degree as Mazkir, National Director.
Lynn Shaw – Office Manager
Lynn has spent the last 20 years working within the Jewish Community as an administrator and also as Clerk to Governors of 3 of the United Synagogue’s primary schools. For 9 years she worked alongside Rabbi Shaw as the Community Department Manager at Stanmore and Canons Park United Synagogue.
Rabbi and Rebbetzen Eliyahu and Jocheved Silverman
Rav Eliyahu Silverman is very warm and personable, as well as being a profound talmid chacham. After learning for almost 8 years at Yeshivat Kerem Beyavne – he joined the Manhigut Toranit Program, in order to further develop his Torah knowledge and pursue his dream of impacting Klal Yisrael , by disseminating the Torah and its values. He also fought on the front lines in the wars in Gaza. Jocheved made Aliya from Switzerland and learned for a year in Midreshet Orot. She then studied in Givat Washington college and received her B. Ed. She had been teaching in Ulpenat Shaalvim until she moved to the U.K. on Shlichut for Mizrachi. Eliyahu and Jocheved have four children.
Talia Ezekiel – Director of Communications
Talia spent a year in Israel studying at Midreshet Harova before graduating from Birmingham City University with a degree in Forensic Computing. She then spent a year on the Bnei Akiva Mazkirut as the Israel Worker.
Josh Zaitschek – Director of Development
Originally from upstate NY, Josh trained as a chef before studying semicha, practical rabbinics and informal psychology.
For the past 10 years Josh has been involved in full time education running innovative and dynamic projects within the community for young professionals and students
A former quarback of his American football team, and a percussionist
He is no stranger to drumming up energy where it’s needed.
Josh lives in Hendon with his wife Yocheved and their 3 children Yackov, Ariella, and Abi.
Rav Aharon & Shira Hershkovitz
Aharon, born in New Jersey, learned in Yeshivat Har Etzion for 10 years, completing the Hesder programme and gaining semicha. He also has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology, from Bar Ilan and Hebrew University, respectively.
Shira grew up in Toronto and was very involved in Bnei Akiva locally and at camps, including being the head of the local snif. After completing a year of midrasha in Orot, she studied Talmud and Tanach at Bar Ilan University and now works as a graphic designer.
As a couple, they have constantly been engaged in communal leadership starting with running social events in the Gush kollel and continuing in Givat Shmuel, the community around Bar Ilan University.
Rav Aharon & Shira are the Shlichim for Mizrachi and Bnei Akiva.
Steven Blumgart – Chair of the board
Steven is an investor in, and board member of, a number of privately-held businesses. Until January 2012, he was Co-director of the aluminum division at Glencore International plc, one of the largest commodity trading firms in the world, valued at $40bn. Steven joined Swiss based Glencore in October 1998, where he served in the coal commodity department, responsible for its industrial assets, before moving to the aluminum division. Prior to joining Glencore, he worked for three years at Grant Thornton in Johannesburg. Steven completed his Bachelor of Commerce (Tax Honours) degree from the University of Witwatersrand, and is a South African Chartered Accountant. In addition, he holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
Sean is a founder and currently Non-Executive Chairman of Peregrine Holdings Limited. He is also Chairman of Stenham Limited, Peregrine’s international subsidiary. Sean has been primarily responsible for and integrally involved in the Peregrine Group’s expansion strategy from inception.
Sean began his career at Liberty Asset Management in 1992, where he headed up the Group’s derivatives desk and was a Senior Portfolio Manager before joining the derivative trading and structuring desk at Investec Bank Limited in 1995. Sean left Investec Bank in 1996 to co-found Peregrine, took on the role of Group Chief Executive Officer in 1997 and led the Group to its successful listing on the JSE in June 1998. Sean has spent a cumulative 11 years in the position of Peregrine Group Chief Executive Officer, and a further eight years as either deputy Chairman or Chairman. A Chartered Financial Analyst, Sean holds an Honours degree in Commerce from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Grant has been the Joint Chief Executive Officer of Bayport Management Limited since 2002. He serves as the Chief Executive at Bayport Financial Services Pty Ltd and serves as Chairman of Zambia Board. Grant co-founded Bayport Management (BML). He joined Nando’s in 1992, where he developed Nando’s franchises abroad, including several African countries. In 1999, he joined Credit Direct, a micro-credit operation. He was appointed the head of sales at African Bank and was responsible for designing its branch and mobile business models. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of Bayport Botswana. He serves as Non-Executive Director of Bayport Financial Services 2010 (proprietary) Limited. He serves as an Executive Director of Tanzania and Non-Executive Director of Uganda. He has been an Executive Director of Bayport Management since 2009. He serves as a Non-Executive Director of Bayport Financial Services Pty Ltd. Mr. Kurland studied for three years towards a Bachelor in Business Science in Actuarial Science at UCT.
Sammy Rubin has been involved in setting up business and educational projects for many years. A graduate of Hasmonean, the Gush and Imperial College, he is married to Jamie and has three children. He is the founder of The Beit Midrash and The Midrasha and a trustee of the London School of Jewish Studies.
Matti has worked in several roles ranging from the rebirth of Jewish life in Europe and more recently in international development, implementing innovative social models across several countries in Asia. Currently, Matti is establishing his own travel platform, Azooki, and is involved in several Holocaust related projects including with Yom Hashoah UK and 70 Days for 70 Years within the Jewish community.
A Mancunian in exile, Matti holds a Masters degree in Operations Management from Manchester Business School and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS).