All good in Wood on rabbi’s big day

By Jay Grenby, February 10, 2011

One-hundred Hadley Wood Jewish Community members packed its Lancaster Road shul for one of the most important days in its 20-year history - the induction by the Chief Rabbi of minister Rabbi Yoni Birnbaum.

With joint chairs Michael Singer and Rochelle Collins presiding, the London Beth Din's Dayan Yonason Abraham congratulated Rabbi Birnbaum and his wife Elisheva on joining "a community that has developed from a few members to more than 80 families in just 20 years".

Hadley Wood is a satellite of Cockfosters Synagogue, whose minister Rabbi Yisroel Fine hailed Rabbi Birnbaum as "a model of the new United Synagogue rabbi, a man of substance with the ability to communicate".

London-born Rabbi Birnbaum was appointed to Hadley Wood as his first rabbinical post last May. Raised in Kingsbury, he attended Hasmonean before studying at yeshivot in the UK and Israel.

He holds a law degree from the Open University.

Mrs Collins said the rabbi had already made an impact by expanding educational and social activities, adding: "A more caring and compassionate community would be hard to find". Lord Sacks identified wisdom and charm among his key qualities.

Responding, Rabbi Birnbaum thanked his wife and family for their encouragement and support.

He expressed a wish to reach out to young families, whether current congregants or potential Hadley Wood recruits.

Last updated: 12:51pm, February 10 2011