Masorti's engaging new rabbi
St Albans Masorti Synagogue's new spiritual leader has returned from America a less single-minded man. For just before his departure, Rabbi Rafael Kaiserblueth got engaged to Mariel Leonard of Washington DC.
Over the last few years, Rabbi Kaiserblueth has regularly visited the Hertfordshire community to lead festival and other special services. He also spent a three month period as a visiting scholar.
The Puerto Rico-born 30-year-old was brought up in Los Angeles and spent most of his adult life in New York, where he obtained degrees in history and Talmud before embarking on rabbinical studies. He received his semichah in May from the New York Jewish Theological Seminary.
Continuing a family tradition - his father and brother are also rabbis - he has an added nautical string to his bow as a lieutenant in the American navy, where he is a reserve Jewish chaplain.
"I am tremendously excited to continue the work I have started in St Albans over the past two-and-a-half years," Rabbi Kaiserblueth said.
Shul co-chair Andrew Levy said the rabbi had become "such a great friend of the community that his arrival feels as much a homecoming as a new appointment".