Mersey beat moves rabbi from Cardiff

Childwall Hebrew Congregation's new rabbi says he will be following a tried and trusted path to improve the fortunes of the Liverpool community.

Rabbi Mordechai Wollenberg, 35, was appointed this week after eight years with Cardiff United Synagogue. He will start his duties in September.

He is replacing Rabbi Lionel Cofnas, 67, who has been the backbone of Liverpool's religious infrastructure for more 30 years. A meeting next week will discuss Rabbi Cofnas' continued involvement with Liverpool's kashrus authority after his anticipated move to Manchester this summer.

Originally from Oxford, Rabbi Wollenberg said he would make personal contact with members and engage with those in mixed marriages, as he had done in Cardiff.

"Involvement has increased in Cardiff, which is a small but vibrant community. We have had success in relating to non-Jewish family members respectfully. They appreciated our efforts, especially when the Jewish spouse particularity wanted an Orthodox community," he added.

Childwall chairman Ashley Bernstein said Rabbi Wollenberg "had the abilities we were looking for and he's very much about outreach. We are the largest community in Liverpool with 400 members. When Greenbank shul closed, a lot of people didn't join any shul, so we are looking to appeal to those people to join us. There are also a lot of young families who are not active members and we are looking to encourage everyone."

Rabbi Wollenberg's wife Blima is from Arizona and the couple have five children. Cardiff Synagogue has launched a search for his successor.

    Last updated: 11:14am, June 17 2011