Rabbi Lionel Blue dies

Rabbi Lionel Blue dies

Rabbi Lionel Blue, the UK’s first openly gay rabbi, has died at the age of 86.

His death was announced on the Facebook page of the Beit Klal Yisrael synagogue.

“Lionel was a wonderful and inspirational man, who spoke with such wisdom and humour and whose words reached out far beyond the Jewish community,” representatives of the synagogue wrote.

“He was a friend and mentor to many and his courage in coming out as gay in the 1970s paved the way for many other Jews, including many Rabbis.

“We will not see his like again. May his memory be for a blessing?”

Rabbi Blue, who was also a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, was admired for his liberal and support of organisations such as Liberal Judaism and the World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Jews.

Born in the East End of London, Blue read History at Baliol College, Oxford, and became a rabbi in 1960.

He had been openly gay since the 60s but publicly came out in 1981 with the publication of hios book Godly and Gay.