Rabbi Dr. Werner van der Zyl - Founder of the Leo Baeck College
Intro Background Leo Baeck College Rabbi van der Zyl Award Schwerter Rundschau Photos

WARNING: Anyone, other than Nikki van der Zyl or Kerry van der Zyl, who claims to be the daughter or granddaughter of Rabbi van der Zyl is an imposter.  If you know of anyone practising this deception, please let us know.

First, let us clear up a common misunderstanding: many people think that because it is called the Leo Baeck College it was founded by Rabbi Dr. Leo Baeck. If Nikki's father founded the college, why doesn't the name reflect that? Rabbi Paul of the Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue explains:

The new rabbinical centre was to be known as the Jewish Theological College but by honouring his mentor Baeck, my father unwittingly obscured his own part in the great endeavour from future generations. Of course my father did not do it alone and it is not denied that he was assisted by many other able people. But, it was his vision and determination which overcame all the obstacles that ensured success.

After Leo Baeck's death in November of 1956 the development of the fledgling college depended almost entirely upon the efforts of my father. Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Romain in his article '50 Years of Leo Baeck College' states that:

In an introduction to the book "Werner van der Zyl, Master Builder", Raymond Goldman writes:

In the Principal's Report of the 2001 Annual Report of the Leo Baeck College, Rabbi Professor Jonathan Magonet, writing about the time he entered the College, says:

60th Anniversary Service
of Celebration, 2016

List of Rabbinic Graduates
1958 - 2015

2011 update: The German Social Democratic Party (SDP) has decided to rename the main market square in Schwerte. Henceforth it will be known as the Dr. Werner van der Zyl Platz.. This is in recognization of him being a son of Shwerte and to honour him as the founder of the world famous Leo Baeck College for Rabbis in London.


LINKS
These sites all have references to Rabbi van der Zyl, Leo Baeck College and other related topics. If you know of more, please inform us.
Jewish Traditions with the van der Zyl family
WLS - Ministers of the Congregation
RSGB - Reform Synagogues of Great Britain
North Western Reform Synagogue (Alyth)
Leo Baeck College
Ms Astrid Zajdband, University of Sussex


The World of Nikki van der Zyl