A THANKSGIVING service is to take place in celebration of the life of Bradford Synagogue chairman Rudi Leavor.

The service, organised by Dr Leavor's family and the Bradford Synagogue Council of Trustees, will be at Bradford Cathedral next month.

Dr Rudolph Leavor, known as Rudi, died in July, aged 95, from Covid. Tributes flooded in from people including the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Shabir Hussain, who praised his "outstanding efforts promoting and enhancing interfaith community relations”, and Bradford Council chief executive Kersten England, who said he "gave himself selflessly and tirelessly in service of this district and its people".

Telegraph & Argus editor Nigel Burton said Rudi "always saw the best in people and they, in turn, responded to his generosity of spirit. His work building and strengthening interfaith relations was fully deserving of the British Empire Medal he received in 2017."

Dr Leavor's funeral, which took place at Bradford Synagogue in August, was a private family service but others who knew him are invited to the memorial service in November, which will also be live streamed.

At his funeral, Rudi's family paid tribute to his lifelong dedication to promoting peace. His son, Jonathan, said that as well as seeing his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren prosper, Rudi wished to be remembered for "developing interfaith relations, co-opting a Muslim member of a synagogue council, and putting Bradford Synagogue on the map".

Rudi worked with Muslim communities, who helped to save the synagogue from closure, and had long established relationships with Bradford's churches and Hindu communities.

He came to Bradford as a child refugee in 1937, with his parents and sister. His memoirs, published last year, describe how the family fled Nazi Germany after his parents were arrested by the Gestapo.

In an interview with the T&A last year, Rudi reflected on his childhood in Berlin and recalled the day he arrived at a swimming pool to see a chilling sign saying ‘Hunde und Juden unerwünscht’ (Dogs and Jews unwelcome) and how he was slapped in the street by a boy who had been a schoolfriend until the rise of Nazi power.

He recalled the exhausting journey to Britain on a German cruise liner, and how the family came to settle in Bradford. Rudi went to Bradford Grammar School and became a dentist, and joined the synagogue in Manningham, where he became chairman, treasurer and life president. His lifelong love of music was inspired by a teacher at his school in Berlin, who was later killed at Auschwitz. Rudi started choral singing at Bradford Synagogue and was a member of the Leeds Philharmonic Choir for 50 years.

He returned to Berlin several times and donated artefacts to the city’s Jewish Museum. Invited to appear in a film, The Lost Children of Berlin, he attended the LA premiere as a guest of Steven Spielberg.

A member of the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association, Rudi attended Holocaust Memorial Day events in Bradford and across the region. A recording of him singing the Hebrew mourning prayer, El Male Rachamim, preceded by Brahms’ Lullaby, is in the Holocaust Learning Centre based at Huddersfield University.