Very sadly, Gilbert Lederman z”l, a former President of Beth Hillel, passed away on 1 July this year. Our thoughts are with his family, especially his widow Veronika Wuyts, who is a member of IJC as well as of Beth Hillel. Below is a translation of the obituary in the Shofar (Beth Hillel’s newletter) written by Benjamin Dobruszkes, his successor.
Gilbert, who came from a Jewish family based in Antwerp, was married to Veronika and was the happy father of Sarah and Nathan and also a loving grandfather. He was so passionate about music that he chose to become a sound engineer. At the end of his career he rose to the position of artistic director of Universal Music Belgium. With his talent for helping others to express their thoughts and feelings, he was ideally suited to this role. In addition to working with long established artists such as Adamo and Grand Jojo, he was called upon to take younger talented francophone musicians such as Stromae, Damso and Big Flo & Oli under his wing and enabled them to flourish. His list of contacts resembled the selection of French-language singers whose works are to be found in any record shop, or on any music platform, worthy of the name. But you would never hear him brag about his work or his professional achievements and name-dropping was not his style either. He was a man of the utmost modesty.
From 2008 to 2018 he was president of Beth Hillel, of which his family were long-standing members. He devoted ten years of his life to this project which, as he loved to repeat, existed before us and will continue to exist after us – a project larger than us, which has enabled numerous families to live fulfilling and forward-looking Jewish lives in keeping with our time and our values.
It is no exaggeration to say that Gilbert was an inspiring leader who left room for everyone to become involved in the life of the synagogue, if they wished to do so. He was thoughtful, asking them questions to help them work out their own way to proceed, while showing his confidence in them.
Once he had mastered his role as president of Beth Hillel, Gilbert became involved in the spread of Judaism beyond our frontiers within the Fédération du Judaïsme Libéral Francophone and the two overarching organisations of liberal Judaism, namely the European Union of Progressive Judaism (eupj.org) and the World Union for Progressive Judaism(wupj.org), on whose executive boards he served.
Beyond any doubt, we have lost a man of great conviction whose commitment, humility and kindness has marked each and every person who had the good luck to work with him.
May his memory remain with us in all our actions in the future.
What is more, this profoundly moving message posted in English on LinkedIn by Veronika makes for inspirational reading.