Monday, October 18, 2010

Next-Chief-Rabbi Watch

As the retirement of the British chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, approaches, the community has regularly bandied about names of possible successors. One name that regularly crops up is that of Shaul Robinson, the very charming former rabbi of Barnet synagogue, currently rabbi of the prominent modern Orthodox synagogue Lincoln Square, in New York.

But why would he want to leave a plum position in the diaspora's most vibrant Jewish community, to come back to rainy old England, provincial Anglo-Jewry (from the POV of NY), and the complications and constraints of the London Beth Din, the United Synagogue, and the very big shoes of Lord Sacks?

The Forward reports this week that not all is rosy at Lincoln Square:
Lincoln Square Synagogue, the iconic Modern Orthodox congregation on New York City’s Upper West Side, has halted construction on its new building and lost its president...
The synagogue, long seen as innovative center of Modern Orthodoxy, issued the announcement only four days after posting notice on its website saying that construction would be halted on its long planned new building, pending a naming donor and or a venture partner, since “the cost of its new building at 180 Amsterdam Avenue has run higher than originally expected”...
Lincoln Square launched a capital campaign to support construction, but in a recent meeting, it announced that the costs had grown tremendously, leaving a difference of about $17 million, several members say.
The NY Jewish Week adds:
Should Lincoln Square come up with the funds or a joint venture partner to complete the project, it is facing another daunting problem -- this one of demographics: the Upper West Side Jewish community seems to be moving steadily northward, and 69th Street isn’t as attractive an address as it once was.
Just noting.

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