Solomon Brown

BORN in 1921 in London's East End, Rabbi Solomon Brown studied at the Etz Chaim Yeshiva in London and headed some of the most prestigious cheders in London.

He was minister in Hornsea from 1947 until 1950, dedicating the rest of his life to Leeds Jewry when he arrived in Leeds in 1951. Aged 29, he became the Senior Minister of the United Hebrew Congregation.

Based at the New Synagogue in Chapeltown Road, he served not only Moortown Synagogue but divided his time among the Great Synagogue in Belgrave Street and the congregations in Francis Street and Louis Street.

His sermons were renowned, and he would speak on any subject at a moment's notice without notes.

He was a magnificent speaker, erudite and legendary.

In 1975 Rabbi Brown published Waters of Life, a collection of Saturday sermons that covered the period from 1961 to 1975 published in the Yorkshire Post.

His earlier years were documented in People's War, an archive of Second World War memories gathered by the BBC. From 1942 he was a firewatcher at the London Jewish Hospital. He lived through the Blitz, buzz bombs and landmines and at any given time might see six or seven houses destroyed.

Later he would recall the sheer chaos of the bombing, and that many times he fell flat on his face to avoid the buzz bombs.

As part of his religious duties he volunteered his services and was sent to Germany for three years. This was as the war was drawing to an end. During this time he travelled around Europe officiating at barmitzvahs, weddings and funerals. He organised religious services and moral leadership courses but was regarded with suspicion because he wore a British uniform. He also went to Belsen and Bergen and was involved in the clean-up operations. His duties were routine and he did whatever a chaplain had to do irrespective of faith or religion.

After his wife, Sarah, died as a result of a car accident in 1969, he showed great fortitude. As soon as Shiva was over, he officiated at a funeral and a wedding, which could not have been easy for him, but these were duties he felt he had to do.

He showed an instinctive skill in dealing with difficult situations and, he being a Rabbi, a role to which he was ideally suited. Rabbi Brown leaves his children, Rabbi Meir Brown, Jonathan and Annabel and grandchildren Sarah and Nasaneil.