Kol Chai
Hatch End Reform
Jewish Community

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Rabbi Dr. Michael Hilton

Rabbi Dr Michael Hilton lived in Kenton as a child and attended Quainton Hall School, Harrow and Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood. He studied Latin, Greek and English Literature at Oxford and completed a doctorate about English translations of the Anacreontea. Michael worked as a Housing Officer with homeless families before training for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College. Michael is married and has three sons.

Michael is an experienced and innovative congregational Rabbi. He served Menorah Synagogue, Cheshire Reform Congregation and North London Progressive Synagogue before coming to Kol Chai in 2001 and returning to the area where he grew up. His grandparents lived in Hatch End during World War II.
At Kol Chai he has overseen the change from a congregation with more children than adults to one where most members are young adults or parents of young adults.

During his time he has encouraged and supported:

  • Prayer with participation and leadership from the congregation
  • The building of a new synagogue
  • The founding of a synagogue library
  • The introduction of a new prayer book
  • Participation by the Community in the leading of prayer
  • Hebrew learning weekends for adults
  • Numerous social and cultural activities
  • Kol Chai Business Club
  • Kol Chai Bereavement Support Group

Michael has written two books in the field of Jewish Christian Dialogue: The Gospels and Rabbinic Judaism(1988, with Gordian Marshall OP), and The Christian Effect on Jewish Life (1994). In 2014 JPS published his new book Bar Mitzvah: A History, detailing the origins and development of bar mitzvah (for boys) and bat mitzvah (for girls). You can read a summary of the book and some of the most important primary sources here.