Elstree minister set to lead breakaway group

The interim senior rabbi of Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue for the past two years, Rabbi Shimshon Silkin, looks set to head a new, breakaway community in the area following his departure at the end of August.

Borehamwood members were told on Wednesday in a letter from chairman Anne Gordon that Rabbi Silkin had been “approached by a new committee exploring options for a new shul in Borehamwood”.

Supporters of Rabbi Silkin were upset last year when he was not chosen as the permanent successor to Rabbi Naftali Brawer, who left almost two years ago.

Mrs Gordon said a kiddush would be held in honour of Rabbi Silkin and his wife next month and that Borehamwood looked forward “to working together with them for the benefit of the wider Jewish community” in the area. Rabbi Silkin was unavailable for comment.

Manchester Yeshurun minister Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz was last month confirmed as the new Borehamwood senior rabbi and will take up the post in the autumn.

In the meantime, Borehamwood’s associate rabbi, Boruch Boudilovsky, has reversed his decision to return to Israel and will run a satellite minyan of the synagogue at Yavneh College with his wife Esther. He takes up the post next month.

Rabbi Boudilovsky said the southern part of Borehamwood was “home to hundreds of Jewish families and to the state-of-the-art Yavneh College campus, which includes a beautiful synagogue.

“Our role will be to bring the two together. The potential is enormous.”

Stephen Pack, president of the United Synagogue, which is supporting the Yavneh development, said it was “very excited” at the move.

Borehamwood leaders had previously been in discussion with Rabbi Silkin about heading the Yavneh minyan.
Rumours were circulating last month that a branch of the independent Ner Israel Synagogue was being set up in Hertfordshire.

However, a senior Ner Israel figure said at the time that it had not been approached.

Last updated: 10:45am, July 8 2013