Great expectations of rising Radlett
Rabbi Leo and Lucy Dee at the induction
Anglo-Jewry should "watch this space", advised the Chief Rabbi when he inducted Rabbi Leo Dee as Radlett Synagogue's minister on Sunday.
"This is a community that is going places and will achieve great things," Lord Sacks told the congregation of 200.
It had grown faster than any other community and had activities every day of the week.
Welcoming guests also including local Tory MP James Clappison and Hertsmere Mayor, Councillor Peter Knell. Radlett chair Andy Katz reported that the community now exceeded 600 families. Its redevelopment project was crucial to providing facilities properly allowing members to "pray, learn and socialise".
Thanks to the enthusiasm of Leo and Lucy Dee, "we could run parallel activities almost every evening".
Reflecting on the community's growth, Rabbi Dee said that, 20 years ago, Jews accounted for five per cent of the Radlett population. Ten years ago, the figure was 25 per cent.
It currently stands at 40 per cent and the minister believes it will reach 50 per cent over the next three years.
Priorities of the Dees include expanding the concept of "micro-communities" - groups of 20 or so families bound together by a common life stage, such as young retirees or those with pre-barmitzvah or batmitzvah children. A number of programmes have already been launched.
As well as thanking those involved in the ceremony's organisation, Rabbi Dee paid tribute to his wife for being "responsible for the vast majority of what we, as a family, have achieved in this community".
The rebbetzin, who was among those giving readings, stressed the important role of women in the Radlett community.