Kanterovitz sees strength in the Elstree 'diversity'

Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue members have given a ringing endorsement to the rabbi recommended to be their new spiritual leader.

Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz of Manchester’s Yeshurun Synagogue received 92 per cent support in a ballot to approve his appointment.

The Leeds-born minister, his wife Bianca and their five children — who visited Borehamwood last month after he was nominated by the synagogue’s rabbinical selection committee — are likely to settle in their new home after the High Holy-Days.

“We are very excited,” he said. “It’s the fastest growing community in England and one of the largest. There is so much energy and so much potential. It just needs channelling.”

The community has been without a permanent senior rabbi since the departure of Rabbi Naftali Brawer in August 2011.

But the attempt to fill the post exposed divisions last year, with some members believing it should been offered to Rabbi Shimshon Silkin, interim minister since September 2011.

Rabbi Kanterovitz said he and his wife had “not paid much attention” to the arguments. “We want to build a future that is confident, successful and strong. That means pulling the different strands together. Diversity is a strength, not a weakness.

“Because the community is so large, there are so many groups. Each group is significant and we have to cater for all of them. It’s going to be challenging and fun and I’ve never been one to shy away from hard work.”

The modern Orthodox rabbi, who has been at Yeshurun for 10 years, is also the yeshiva head of the Yavneh boys’ section at Manchester’s King David High School.

Rabbi Silkin — whose contract expires next month — said: “It’s very much our intention to work together to provide programming for the entire community.”

Borehamwood leaders had discussed a plan for Rabbi Silkin to head a satellite minyan in the south of the area, but it did not go ahead.

Last updated: 9:45am, June 24 2013