With sadness we report the death of Lawrence Rigal, emeritus rabbi of The Settlement Synagogue, where he was Minister for longer than any of his predecessors.
Although he retired a few years ago he was often seen in the congregation at the SWESRS branch in Stepney, and on occasion he was invited to lead the services. Less than two months ago he was one of the rabbis officiating at the 90th anniversary service of the Settlement Synagogue — originally known as the St. George's Settlement Synagogue. A few weeks before his death and already in bad health, he made his way to the Sha'arei Tsedek North London Reform Synagogue where he was honoured by being appointed a Rabbinic Fellow of the Leo Baeck College.
Lawrence became Minister of the Settlement Synagogue when he was the "Reverend” Rigal. With the encouragement of the Hon. Officers he applied to the College to become a rabbi. Because he had served as a minister for many years they required no further period of study but, as with all students, he would have to present a thesis. This being delivered, he was ordained and became Rabbi Rigal.
Lawrence was inspired by all that he heard about the past history of the synagogue and of its close association with the Oxford & St. George's Jewish Settlement and Clubs and also about the life and the work of "The Gaffer", Sir Basil Henriques. He recorded this information and also spoke on the subject. He also produced an oral and a written account of the memories of some of the older members of the synagogue.
Over the years he gained the respect and affection of so many members. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Kay and his sons Daniel & Gideon. His memory will indeed be for a blessing.