From April to November 1963, Ohel Leah Synagogue had a Reform rabbi as its spiritual leader. Rabbi Ferdinand Myron Isserman had served at Congregation Temple Israel in St. Louis, Missouri for over 34 years prior to coming to Hong Kong.
One of his initiatives was to institute the synagogue’s first (and only) confirmation ceremony. It took place on June 2, 1963, which fell on the Sunday before Shavuot 5763. Six girls and two boys were confirmed that day.
Source: Ferdinand M. Isserman Papers, MS-6, Box 5, Folder 9. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Do you have any information about this event that you would like to share?
If so, we’d like to hear from you!
Barbara Landau Harding (UK) wrote on 9 April 2019:
I remember Rabbi Isserman and his wife very well. They were so kind to us in Hong Kong. Rabbi Isserman decided that all the girls should be part of the community too. I really liked Mrs. Isserman. She made us feel very welcome. They were a marvellous couple and so good for the community then.
Barbara Gabriel Mackenzie (Bali) wrote on 9 April 2019:
I remember Rabbi Isserman well. I may even have had my (albeit late) bat mitzvah with him. At last I could understand what was being said in the synagogue! Reform Judaism was such a unique concept for me and one I could relate to.