Saturday, December 11, 2010

Next Chief Rabbi Watch

Some months ago, a JC diary item named several potential candidates for Chief Rabbi when Lord Sacks retires, sparking much comment. To the best of my recollection, they were: Rabbi Brawer of Borehamwood; Rabbi Schochet of Mill Hill; Rabbi Belovski of Dunstan Road; and Rabbi Robinson of Lincoln Square in NY. In my many conversations with members of the community, two other names have come up more than once: South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein; and (more recently) Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, currently rabbi of The Great Synagogue in Sydney.

Rabbi Lawrence has a British background and an impressive CV, including a degree from Oxford. And this Shabbat - what do you know - he was guest rabbi at a major London Synagogue, Norrice Lea (Hampstead Garden Suburb), whose pulpit has been empty for nearly a year. His sermon in shul today - I hear - promoted a strong pro-modern Orthodox line. I happen to know they are interviewing candidate(s?) tomorrow (Sunday).

If he does move back from sunny Sydney to cold, snowy UK, would his sudden occupation of a senior pulpit inch him closer to the chief rabbinical position - in sight, in mind? Or would it be unseemly for him to accept another position within a couple of years of moving to Norrice Lea? (On the other hand, there has been some speculation about the next Chief Rabbi moving out of St John's Wood and closer to the NW London community. Perhaps retaining some kind of role in HGS, close to the "frum" neighbourhoods but still on their periphery, would be ideal?)

Watch this closely.

RELATED: Here, here and here.

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