Singing star goes back home to Stanmore

By Jay Grenby, October 21, 2010

Young chazan Jonny Turgel is leaving Edgware Synagogue after four years to join the Stanmore United congregation.

Although only in his mid-20s, Mr Turgel has acquired an international reputation as a chazan. Stanmore chair Philip Hertz reported that when he announced the appointment at the end of the Shabbat morning service, "there was a collective gasp, followed by a burst of rapturous applause. I've never experienced anything like it.

"We are also particularly delighted because Jonny is coming home. As the son and grandson respectively of longstanding members Maralyn and Harris Turgel and Gena Turgel, he is truly a Stanmore boy.

"When our previous chazan Dr Henry Black retired in June after 15 years, many of our members expressed the wish that, with his background, Jonny should be davening in our shul and not elsewhere."

A former Immanuel College head boy and yeshivah student, who also boasts a history degree from London University, Mr Turgel is a regular soloist with the Shabbaton Choir and has featured in concerts in the UK and abroad. He is one of the most sought-after officiants at weddings and other events.

His wife Rachel will also work for the shul, helping to organise activities for women and girls while continuing her studies for a degree in medicine. The couple will take up their appointments on January 1.

Edgware Synagogue chair Stephen Jacobson said the congregation would be sad to see Mr Turgel go, "but obviously he needs to make progress in his career". As for a replacement, "there is plenty of talent out there".

    Last updated: 3:21pm, October 21 2010