A Pinner woman has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for her services to the Jewish community.
Leonie Lewis, director of the Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN), has been "giving her indomitable energy to the UK Jewish community for over 30 years" and continues to have a "major impact", according to colleagues.
The grandmother-of-seven is "honoured and so proud" to have received the award.
She said: "I’m a very active member of Pinner US Synagogue - indeed I was its first community director in the early 1990s.
"I qualified as a youth and community worker through the former Harrow Youth services and have always felt it important to fully participate in local activities.
"Currently, I’m a regular collector for Harrow Mencap, getting most pleasure when supporting the local users in their collections."
A statement from the JVN says that Leonie has always represented the Jewish community in the inter-faith sector, as a founder and trustee of the Faith Based Regeneration Network and co-chair of the Faiths Forum for London (FFFL).
She has worked tirelessly to build the FFFL’s influence in both inter-faith and wider sectors, the statement adds.
Leonie became co-chair of US (United Synagogue) Women and in 2013 was able to drive changes to the statutes and bye-laws, resulting in women being able to become chairs of US synagogues.
After becoming the first of four female trustees of the US itself, she became joint vice-president, a role she still holds.
As a role model for women across the community, she has shown "selfless dedication to mentoring and empowering women to step up to the plate and take on critical leadership roles to become future mentors and promote gender equality", say her colleagues at JVN.
'Her contribution to our community continues to be enormous'
Michael Goldstein, president of the United Synagogue, said: "We are delighted that Leonie has received this honour.
"As vice-president of the United Synagogue, her contribution to our community continues to be enormous.
"The huge impact of her years of work will be felt by countless people both now and in the future."
Leonie also holds a string of other advisory roles with a variety of organisations and charities in the community.
She has a Masters’ degree in Sociology of Education and is an MBA UJIA Ashdown Fellow. She is also a regular volunteer for Harrow Mencap.
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