101-year-old to read at Leeds synagogue

Jack Vardy.
Jack Vardy.
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Taking part in a three hour service in front of 200 people would be taxing for anyone.

But 101-year-old Jack Vardy will take to the bima - raised platform - for the Sabbath service at a Moortown synagogue this weekend.

Jack, of Alwoodley, is believed to be the oldest Jewish worshipper in the world to read the service.

The great-grandfather-of-seven will celebrate his Hebrew birthday by officiating at the Beth Hamidrash Hagadol Synagogue on Saturday.

Synagogue warden Gerald Tammer said: “Jack is a remarkable man and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this is a world record.

“I cannot ever recall a man of 101 years of age officiating at a Sabbath service before.

“We are very proud of him.”

Jack has been a member of the synagogue on Street Lane since 1980 and around 20 members of his family will attend the service as well as a party afterwards.

Jack said: “I enjoy reading at the synagogue and don’t feel 101.

“I wonder why other people haven’t reached this age - it wasn’t very hard and I didn’t do anything special.

“The only part of me that’s getting weaker is my legs, so you won’t see me running a marathon I’m afraid.”

Jack, a keen gardener, attributes his long life to healthy eating, good genes and being well cared for by his late wife Jean, who he was married to for 60 years, and his two children.

Daughter Elaine Grazin said: “He is a wonderful person.

“He’s happy, calm and positive and copes with whatever life sends him.”

Jack’s parents came to England from Lithuania in 1900. He was born in London on February 27, 1911 and had five siblings.

Jack graduated with first-class degree in physics and engineering from Queen Mary College where he met his late wife Jean.

Stephen Blake of the CMA  Photo: Vikki Ellis

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