Shenley rabbi quits: 'We were not a good fit'

By Jay Grenby, March 18, 2010
Follow The JC on Twitter

Yet another United Synagogue pulpit has fallen vacant with this week's announcement that Rabbi Natan Levy is to leave Shenley shul.

Rabbi Levy, who was appointed as the growing community's part-time minister only 18 months ago, said his departure was by mutual consent. "The Shenley community and I had reached a point where we agreed that a parting of the ways would be to the benefit of both of us," he said.

"It was no one's fault. It is a great community which I love dearly but we were not a good fit. They were looking for a certain kind of rabbi and I was not that rabbi."

American-born Rabbi Levy will leave Shenley at the end of June with his wife Ariella and their three young daughters, the newest born five months ago. Where to "all depends on what is on offer", he said.

Both he and his wife ultimately intend to return to Israel, where they both studied and where he became involved in a series of environmental education projects. But for the moment, "we have no one set direction and we haven't closed any doors".

A university chaplain prior to his Shenley appointment, the minister is a recent graduate of the United Synagogue's Promoting Excellence In Rabbis programme and has been acting as liaison to the Chief Rabbi's Office on environmental issues.

For the time being, he will remain at the London School of Jewish Studies, where he heads the newly-established Jewish Responsibility Unit.

Wishing the Levys well for the future, Shenley's chair Dr Alan Hirschowitz added: "We are truly grateful for everything they have done for Shenley."

United Synagogue Community Services director David Kaplan was "sad to lose such an innovative rabbi. In the last few years, the Shenley community has doubled in size and is continuing to grow its membership. We are looking forward to appointing a new rabbi to take the community on to the next exciting stage of its development."

    Last updated: 3:45pm, March 18 2010