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Rabbi Norman Solomon

Rabbi Norman Solomon was born in Cardiff, South Wales, on 31 May 1933. This coincided with the Jewish festival of Shavuot and with the running of the Derby, won by Tommy Weston on Lord Derby’s Hyperion. The first of these events was by far the more influential on my development, for the festival celebrates not only the First-Fruits but the proclamation of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.

Cardiff, capital city of Wales, was still a major port, and came under attack from the air in World War II. It was a great place to grow up, enlightened, tolerant, with a vigorous musical life in which I was able to take part. There was a small but active Jewish community, inclined to Zionism (they were fond of pointing out that Israel was comparable in size and population to Wales); they were not on the whole very religious, but I came under the influence of some families of refugee German Orthodox Jews.