Do we need another?

By Geoffrey Paul, December 16, 2010

Do we really need another Chief Rabbi? An Av Beth Din with impressive halachic qualifications and an approachable personality could perform for the United Synagogue all the rabbinical and communal duties it might require. After all, the USA has managed perfectly well without a chief rabbi. Shmuley Boteach, who has experience in both countries, wrote earlier this year: "In America, a rabbi's standing is judged not by any communal appointment or particular title but by effort and impact alone. The absence of a communal hierarchy means that individual rabbis and communal leaders can innovate and try new and transformative programming without having to fit into an existing infrastructure of control or thought."

Doing without another chief rabbi would also save the US housing, salary, expenses, office, staff and pension - a not inconsiderable argument for not appointing another chief rabbi at a time of national economic retrenchment. It would also save the unsavoury jockeying and squabbling which a chief rabbinical contest would provoke.

Last updated: 3:26pm, December 16 2010