The announcement last month that the British chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, will retire in 2013 immediately set off a flurry of speculation about potential successors. For Anglo-Jewry, this is a crucial moment. The chief rabbi is considered the leader of the community, setting its tone and priorities, and is its most prominent face to the outside world. With the last 10 holders of the post serving for an average of 28 years each, the choice will make a real difference to a shrinking community, struggling with its place in British society amid a surge of anti-Israel sentiment and the rapid growth of an often hostile Muslim population.Read the whole thing and come back here to comment.
But do not expect another figure of Lord Sacks’s intellectual stature or prominence. Unlike in 1991, when Sacks became chief rabbi, there is no front-runner; barring surprises, the likely contenders to replace him are all competent community rabbis with little or no national profile. This is a good thing. Under Sacks and his predecessor, Immanuel Jakobovits, Britain’s chief rabbi became a figure of national, and even international, importance. But that is not what British Jews need most from their next leader.
Friday, January 07, 2011
In my Forward column this week, I ask what Britain needs from its next chief rabbi:
Posted by Miriam at 8:30 AM