US dominates the Chief selection

By Simon Rocker, January 12, 2012

The United Synagogue will have the dominant hand in choosing the next Chief Rabbi with US representatives taking seven out of the eight places on the working group responsible for drawing up a shortlist of candidates.

Shimmy Lopian, the chairman of the Manchester and District Council of Synagogues and recently appointed trustee of the Chief Rabbinate Trust, is the lone member from outside the US.

The other members include US president and group chairman Stephen Pack; his immediate predecessors Simon Hochhauser and Peter Sheldon; and former JFS chairman and US joint vice-president Russell Kett and US joint treasurer Russell Tenzer. The group is completed by the two elected women's representatives who attend US trustee meetings, Naomi Landy and Doreen Samuels.

Representatives from Leeds and Glasgow will be among a wider consulting group - comprising the eight working group members and another 15 people - that can veto any appointment.

Accounting for seven of the 23-strong consulting group, women will probably enjoy a greater say in the selection of a UK Chief Rabbi than at any previous time.

The US is the largest funder of the Office of the Chief Rabbinate, contributing £300,000 to its £750,000 annual budget. The Chief's salary package is £170,000-£180,000, according to the office's 2010 accounts.

Last updated: 1:07pm, January 12 2012