Rabbi quits Norrice Lea pulpit

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

Rabbi Reuven Livingstone, minister of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, has announced his resignation after 11 years.

Rabbi Livingstone, who is originally from South Africa, said he had a “variety” of options to pursue after feeling he had “peaked” from his post at one of the largest synagogues in London, which has 1,800 adult members and more than 1,000 members under the age of 21.

Rabbi Livingstone said: “I came to the point where I wanted to move on. I have had a pretty good time here. It’s a big shul and I have accomplished a lot. I feel that I have peaked here.”

Shul chairman Bernard Taub said: “The board of management has accepted Rabbi Livingstone’s resignation and wish to state that he has made a lasting contribution to our community and we have been fortunate to benefit from his leadership over the past 11 years.

“His tenure has seen our community flourish and while wishing him well we look forward to opening a new chapter with the search of a new rabbi.”

The rabbi’s announcement is the latest incident in a turbulent period at the Norrice Lea shul. In 2004, four of the shul’s five honorary officers resigned following a failed bid to remove him. They reportedly wanted him to focus more on the young sections of the community. And earlier this year the controversy continued after Rabbi Livingstone’s salary was slashed by 15 per cent, from £87,000 to £75,000.

But Rabbi Livingstone said: “This is all amicable from my perspective.We have gone a huge distance in that time and we have reconfigured our programme. I have been working very hard. There has been an extensive welfare programme which I set up and a website for victims of the recession.”

Rabbi Livingstone will remain at the shul until the end of February 2010.

Last updated: 4:12pm, December 23 2009