Finchley synagogue seeks first chief executive

By Robyn Rosen, June 24, 2010

Finchley Synagogue is to appoint a chief executive, believed to be the first in the United Synagogue, in a move described as "unique".

The 2,500-member synagogue, also known as Kinloss, has appointed head hunters to find the right candidate for the community.

Jon Mendelsohn, chairman, said: "It will differ from similar job titles in other shuls as they are traditionally more administrative.

"The old model of how we organise a synagogue was not fit for the modern era. The huge expansion taking place at Kinloss requires a chief executive because of the size, scale and ambition. A chief executive is there to expand and develop, not to administer.

"The new chief executive will be a person who designs and leads how we relate to members, spiritual and educational work, the operation side and welfare side of what we do. What we're looking for is someone who is used to running a good-sized charity.

‘The old model of how we organise a synagogue was not fit for the modern era’

"We have a large redevelopment project and with the launch of a new community centre later this year, it's more than just a spiritual home.

"This is a model others will follow. It fills an obvious gap."

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: "The appointment of a chief executive for our synagogue is a reflection of the ever increasing dynamism and vitality of our community and the very exciting expansion of our facilities and activities.

"Our warm and inclusive congregation now looks forward to achieving further success in all our endeavours."

Synagogues in other movements, including New North London Masorti synagogue in Finchley and West London Reform synagogue in Marble Arch, already have similar positions.

Claire Mandel, executive director at NNLS, said: "The shul took a decision four years ago that they thought it was at a state of development and maturity where it needed a senior professional to have an overview of the structure of the shul and help maintain a bridge between professional staff and lay leadership.

"It's a standard role in America. We're a large organisation with a decent-sized turnover and, like Kinloss, we are a shul that don't just provide shul services but a huge range of activities."

Last updated: 12:49pm, June 24 2010