Bushey US honour outgoing rabbi after 37 years' service
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Wednesday 20th July 2016

On Sunday night almost 700 people gathered at the Colosseum Theatre in Watford to celebrate and enjoy a ‘This Is Your Life’ tribute to Rabbi Meir Salasnik. The Bushey United Synagogue Minister and his wife Judy are due to make Aliyah later this year after 37 years’ service.

The magical evening included tributes from Bushey congregants, religious and political leaders, and interfaith friends. 

Diverse tributes included:

School pal from over 50 years ago, Rabbi Eliezer Pruim, explained what a wonderful school friend Meir Salasnik had been and how they remain good friends today. He did, however, give Rabbi Salasnik a score of just six out of ten for handwriting. 

Robbie Low, the Parish Priest who had spent 15 years across the Road from Bushey shul at St Peter’s Church in Bushey Heath, travelled back from Cornwall to present a special book ‘The Jews of Cornwall’. He paid tribute to the Rabbi’s outstanding interfaith work. 

Watford Football Club sent a retro 1979 (the year the Salasniks started in Bushey) football shirt signed by the 2016 squad with SALASNIK 37 printed on the back. 

Rabbi Salasnik holding his 'This is your Life' book

Oliver Dowden CBE, MP for Hertsmere, gave his own tribute and also brought with him a letter from the former Prime Minister David Cameron. 

Eitan Na’eh, Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to the UK, welcomed the Salasniks to Israel with an entertaining and helpful 20-step guide on how to make a success of living in Israel. His witty list included leaving one’s tuxedo in England, some tips about queuing, and not wearing socks with sandals! He ended by saying, “Bushey’s loss is Israel’s gain”. 

At the end of the evening, the President of the United Synagogue Stephen Pack paid tribute to the Salasniks’ long and dedicated service not just to the Bushey community but also to the United Synagogue community as a whole. 

It was left to Chief Rabbi Mirvis to wrap things up with a moving and very personal tribute to a man who is loved by his community and will be sorely missed. 

There was one final surprise. Earlier in the evening, two of the Salasniks’ sons, their daughters-in-law and five grandchildren had sent a video message from Israel saying how sorry they were that they couldn’t be with us. Nevertheless, in true ‘This Is Your Life’ fashion “they had flown over three thousand miles to be here tonight” – and their appearance capped an emotional, poignant and entertaining evening. 

Nigel Rothband compèred the event and, together with Adrian Cohen, co-chaired the committee who had put the whole event together. The show was followed by a buffet reception. 

Rabbi Salasnik said 'Judy and I were so moved by the love, respect and warmth that was shown to us by so many people. The surprises, generous tributes and of course to see our family from Israel, who we were not expecting to come over, capped an amazing evening. Our heartfelt thanks go to the organising committee for putting on such a once-in-a-lifetime event.'