Rabbis discuss shared responsibilities

United Synagogue rabbis have discussed the desirability of ministerial teams to share responsibilities in larger communities.

A workshop during the Rabbinical Council of the US annual conference in Hemel Hempstead considered the team format, popular in America, where ministers take responsibility for different aspects of communal life.

Rabbinical Council chair Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet said afterwards: "With such diverse communities, catering to singles, young marrieds, senior citizens, youth, etcetera, there needs to be a stronger structure in place to ensure that the membership can be better catered for.

"That the responsibility of a thousand families or more rests on the shoulders of only one man means that the community cannot be serviced properly and the rabbi risks burning out much quicker.

It was too much for one man to meet the needs of 1,000 families

"We look forward to sitting down with the US trustees following this most productive conference to seek implementation of some of the proposals put forward."

A rabbinic team has been in place for three years at Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, including community director Rabbi Anthony Knopf, who said he was recruited "because of the size of the community and variety of tasks which needed to be done.

"It works very well because while we all focus on one area, each member also maintains a broad involvement."

The conference was also a forum for issues such as rabbis' academic development and exploring the role of rabbi as chief executive.

"We invited the trustees of the US to participate in workshops so that we can all be better engaged in the challenges going forward," Rabbi Schochet reported.

    Last updated: 12:53pm, May 6 2010