Square rabbi shaping up in Israel’s cause

Belsize Square Synagogue's new minister is a committed Zionist who believes it important to speak up for Israel.

Rabbi Stuart Altshuler, who arrived from California last month, has lost no time in advancing that cause by meeting local MP Glenda Jackson.

Among his goals is "to inspire more Jews to feel pride in their connection with the state of Israel, a pride in the moral, spiritual and political arguments on Israel's behalf and never to be afraid to voice those opinions, no matter who the audience is".

The 57-year-old served Conservative congregations in five American states before teaching Jewish history at university.

Rabbi Altshuler has a strong record of activism, particularly in the campaign for Soviet Jewry, of which he has written a history.

He finds a more "hostile attitude" towards Israel in the UK than in the States.

"We have to engage the outside world and they should listen to our concerns," he said. "We need to have a strong voice to let the world know we are not going to take the strong bias against Israel with weak hands."

    Last updated: 1:22pm, May 11 2011