Rabbi James and Rebbetzin Sarah Proops, both originally from London, form a united partnership in all they do and share an enthusiasm to work for the Jewish People which has led them on a journey across three continents. After five years of learning and teaching in Israel, they served as the Aish directors at the University of Leeds interacting and inspiring Jewish students from all backgrounds. They then took the position of assistant rabbinic couple at Mill Hill United Synagogue, a shul serving over 1,200 families. As assistant rabbi to such a large community, Rabbi Proops gained tremendous experience in all areas of pastoral work, facilitating lifecycle events, teaching, and serving as halachic adviser.
Rabbi Proops was the Associate Rabbi at Young Israel of Century City (YICC) in Los Angeles serving close to 500 families, since 2017. There, the Proops’ cultivated meaningful relationships throughout the community with members of all ages through extensive programming, learning opportunities and social events, as well as hosting meals, going out for coffee, and regular phone calls. After their arrival in L.A., YICC saw a significant membership growth in its Young Professional’s demographic, owing largely to the Proops’ warm, relatable and personable approach, and the popularity of the Young Community Minyan which they ran. Rabbi Proops also worked closely with the youth directors to ensure that the shul provided the very best in engaging and inspiring programming for kids. Rabbi Proops also oversaw the shul’s website and social media presence, was involved in fundraising and worked to modernize their database management and communications.
Rabbi Proops received his BA (hons) in International History & Politics from the University of Leeds and Certificate of Counselling from Birkbeck University of London. He received Semicha from the Netiv Aryeh Kollel and HaRav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, zt’l, as well as gaining acceptance to the exclusive Ner Le’Elef Jewish Leadership Training and Community Outreach program in Jerusalem. While in the U.K., Rabbi Proops served as the joint-honorary principal to the elementary school MMK, regularly making visits to teach and engage with the children as well as providing halachic and hashkafic guidance to the faculty. He was also selected by the Office of the Chief Rabbi to lead a pioneering social action mission to Mumbai, India, on behalf of the United Kingdom Jewish community.
Sarah has held various positions focusing on the pastoral care and development of students and young women. She most recently served as Yavneh Hebrew Academy’s first mashgicha ruchanit caring for the social, emotional and spiritual welfare of the girls. Prior to this role, she was the associate L.A.-city director for West Coast NCSY and the region’s chessed coordinator for yeshiva high schools. During the Proops’ time in Israel, Sarah was the Eim Bayit at Midreshet Moriah Seminary in Jerusalem. Sarah received a Certificate of Higher Education in Psychodynamic Counseling from Birkbeck University of London and is one of ten certified graduates of the Chief Rabbi’s “Ma’ayan Program,” a course training high-level female Torah educators and specializing in Taharat Hamishpacha. She is an eagerly sought after kallah teacher, bat mitzvah tutor and spiritual guide, and an adviser by women of all ages.
Rabbi and Rebbetzin Proops are blessed with four children—Ashi, Aharon, Yonah and Rina—who love asking people to guess in which city each was born! As a rabbinic family they all love to be involved in the community and are greatly disappointed if their parents inform them that they are not having guests for a Shabbat meal. Despite their travels around the world, the whole family are avid soccer (football!) fans, following the progress of their beloved Tottenham Hotspurs back in the U.K.