Belsize Square picks American rabbi as leader

October 14, 2010

The independent Belsize Square Synagogue has chosen a Conservative rabbi from the United States to be its next spiritual leader.

Rabbi Stuart Altshuler, 57, will take up his post in January as successor to Rabbi Rodney Mariner who will retire on his 70th birthday in May.

Rabbi Altshuler, who has served Conservative communities in the United States and has been a visiting professor at the University of California for the past six years, said: "I am thrilled to be coming to London to join such a remarkable community as Belsize Square, with its proud tradition, glorious musical heritage, and unique place in Anglo-Jewry.

"I made many wonderful new friends during my visit in June, and was struck by the kindness and hospitality I was shown. I cannot wait to be part of the community at such an exciting time."

He and his wife Ella have three children and two grandchildren. He is also the author of a history of the Soviet Jewry movement, From Exodus to History.

Belsize Square chairman Paul Burger said: "We are delighted to have appointed in Rabbi Altshuler, a spiritual leader of such ability, energy and warmth. 

"He made an immediate connection with our members during his visit in June, and we look forward to welcoming him."

Founded in 1939 by German refugees, the synagogue has nearly 1,000 adult members and 350 children and recently renovated its sanctuary.

Mr Burger said: "Rabbi Altshuler arrives at a momentous time in Belsize Square's history when we have done so much to secure the community's long-term future.  

"Rabbi Mariner's contribution over the past 28 years has been immense and we could not have achieved these major projects without his strong leadership.

"He will remain a source of guidance and experience, as the community enters this new phase of growth."

Last updated: 3:30pm, October 14 2010