About Ohr Yisrael

A young community with everything you need

Enjoy the wide range of activities at Ohr Yisrael – soak up the wonderful warm atmosphere or better still join in. There should be something for all ages, attitudes and interests – and if not we are always open to new suggestions and happy to try new ideas.

Rabbi and Rebbetzen Garson

Rabbi & Deborah

Rabbi Raphy Garson was born in Manchester and brought up in Gibraltar. He spent 4 years studying in Israel before marrying Deborah. Upon returning to the UK he studied at Kings College University Of London, and graduated with a (2:1) degree in Computer Science and Management. He then returned to Israel for a further 4 and ½ years, to study for Semicha (Rabbincal Ordination) under the Auspices of the Chief Rabbinate and the former Chief Rabbi Of Israel – Harav Mordechai Eliyahu z”l. In July 2005 he arrived back in the UK with Deborah with their children to take up position as Rav & Rebbetzen of Ohr Yisrael.

Deborah was raised in London and attended the Hasmonean High School. She graduated from Michlalah Seminary in Jerusalem before retuning to the UK.

In 1998 she graduated from Middlesex University with a first class honours degree in education & information technology. This was followed by a post graduate in the Psychology of Special Needs at the Institute of Education.

Deborah has taken additional courses in marriage counselling, family issues, children’s education and topics relation to adolescence, giving her a balanced well grounded knowledge to help the community.

She recently qualified as a Breast Feeding Support Councillor and is now able to practically help the young mothers of our community. 

Since arriving in Elstree the Rabbi & Deborah have turned a fledgling community of some 30 families into a vibrant and dynamic congregation. They have spearheaded many unique events, programs and learning opportunities which have been enjoyed by the wider community and well.

These include the first ever Daf Yomi Shiur which took place over 2 years at the early hour of 5:45am. Currently on hold, the shiur is due to start again soon.

In addition, Rabbi Garson and Deborah formed and created the HLX (Hertfordshire Learning Experience), a program set up in memory of the late Rabbi Kass z”l. To date several 1000 people have been inspired and touched by its varied programs and learning opportunities.

Jewish history is not to be relegated to dusty pages on a book, it needs to be lived. With messages from the past being learnt for the future. Rabbi Garson & Deborah have been instrumental in leading hundreds of people on trips to Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Morocco. With the help of JRoots, many have had the opportunity to return to Poland and get a sense and feel of what once was, to learn from history and apply those lessons and knowledge to the future. Such journeys, particularly with a survivor, bring that sad period of history to life, and put our lives into perspective. They help infuse the community with a sense of purpose and appreciation of Jewish life.

The Garson’s have an open door policy and all are welcome. Their non judgemental personalities, coupled with their warmth have endeared them to our community.