£13k pay rise for top Liberal rabbis

Liberal leaders have approved new pay guidelines for rabbis which would see the salary for the highest-paid ministers rising above £75,000.

The lowest-paid rabbis would enjoy an increase to £34,181 from £31,072 two years ago, according to the guidelines, which are not binding on congregations.

Newly endorsed by the Liberal Judaism council, the updated 30-point salary scales will go out for consultation to local communities.

At the top rung of the pay ladder, the recommended increase is from £62,145 to £75,725. By comparison, the highest paid Reform rabbis can earn more than £100,000 a year.

Liberal chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich said: "It is in the interests of congregations, rabbis and the Liberal Judaism movement that the rabbinate is a properly remunerated vocational profession.

"We seek to attract the most committed and best qualified men and women and although they will not become millionaires, this reflects a reasonable and affordable way forward."

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, the new co-chairman of the movement's rabbinic conference, said the pay rates "recognise changes in the rabbinate".

Congregations' expectations of their rabbis were often "substantially different" from the generation of his father, Rabbi Andrew Goldstein.

"Some of the congregations are a lot bigger. Some rabbis may be working part-time but the congregation's expectations are full-time."

Under the guidelines, a full-time rabbi would be expected to work a 42-hour week with two days free.

Rabbis should start with four weeks' annual holiday, rising to six weeks after 12 years' service, and accrue one month's sabbatical for every year of service.

It was "desirable" for a rabbi to own their home and "where appropriate", congregations should provide loans to help buy one. They should also provide a car for the minister or a loan to assist a vehicle purchase.

Rabbis should not receive monetary gifts for congregational duties. "Where such gifts are received, they should be paid into a rabbi's discretionary fund - which may be a charitable trust - or otherwise dealt with by agreement between the congregation and the rabbi."

    Last updated: 3:23pm, June 16 2011