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The definition of a “Mensch” is “Human Being – A man of integrity and honour”. No one I know epitomises this Yiddish word so full of meaning than Ian Jacobs.

This month, Ian celebrates his  20th anniversary as SWESRS Choir Master, the longest serving of any of our Choir Masters.  Prior to this, Ian shared the Baton from 1987 to 1990 with Bernard Pearlstone, Miles Fallman and Jack Rosenberg. Ian is the “Real Deal”! A gifted musician blessed with perfect pitch, he combines passionate enthusiasm and flair with honesty, integrity,  displaying unwavering dedication and generous encouragement. He strives to get the very best from our choir and soloists. Infinitely patient, he imbues us with his energy and enthusiasm.

So hard working, he has combined these duties with a full time career and rarely has time to put his feet up, as he has to plan rehearsals, choose content for Shabbat, Festivals, Selichot and High Holy Day Services as well as for numerous Weddings, Funerals, Stone Settings and Memorial Services over the years where our Choir have been invited to sing.

During this record breaking period, he has introduced into the choir’s liturgical repertoire the following pieces “Shehecheyanu” “Kaddish Tikabel” Se’u Sha’arim”, “El Melech Yoshev” “Yiheyu 5 &6” “Modim” “Sim Sholom 2”,” Adon Olam 9 & 10” plus new pieces for Selichot and High Holy Day Services and I’m sure, impressive thought this list may be, it is by no means exhaustive.

Non-liturgical pieces include: “America” “Rhythm of Life” “Thank you for the Music” “ You’ll Never Walk Alone” “I’d like to teach the World to Sing””On the Street where you live” “Java Jive” “My Heart will go on” “You Raise Me Up” “Can you feel the love tonight”, “We’ve Only Just Begun” “Bohemian Rhapsody” “Va Pensiera” “Tea for Two” “La Cachucha Chorus and Dance” “All through the Night” “Smile””Yesterday” “Bring Him Home”.

Add to the mixture, more than 10 concerts which he has planned and delivered over these years, each one of them contributing positively, not only financially to sustain our requirements but also to raise funds for both SWESRS and external causes has helped to ensure that our Choir is an essential part of SWESRS fabric, sustaining an enviable reputation for its excellence within the MRJ. Without Ian’s dedication, it’s unlikely that so much of this would have been achieved.

It is my personal honour and privilege to have witnessed Ian grow from Boy to young man and then the man who we see before us today.

On behalf of all of us, may I wish  him  L’Chaim , for he is  a gifted musician, a rare human being and a true Mensch.

Paul Gersh - President and long standing choir member!