'A different kind of rabbi' hailed by Chief

By Jay Grenby, May 16, 2008

Edgware Synagogue’s new minister is “a very different kind of rabbi”, Sir Jonathan Sacks told a 600-strong congregation on Sunday.

Addressing the induction service for Rabbi David Lister, the Chief Rabbi remarked that there were few ministers who could claim to be “adept on the violin and guitar, versed in French literature, astronomy and quantum physics, as well as author of a forthcoming book entitled Inter-Galactic Judaism, or whose induction sermon for his former Muswell Hill congregation had embraced an ode to a Harley-Davidson motorbike.”

Confirming Sir Jonathan’s assertion that he boasted “the biggest smile” in the rabbinate, the minister responded that he was proud to serve the Edgware congregation.

“The acts of kindness are legion, from people who volunteer their time, money or effort to help in any aspect of communal life, to those who pick up the phone to speak to someone who is unwell, or rush around with meals for those who need them.”

Edgware chairman Philip Norman had welcomed Rabbi Lister and his “amazingly special” wife Rachie to the community. Praising him as “a truly versatile, inspirational, kind, compassionate and sincere rav”, he forecast that he would join the ranks of the great rabbis who had helped Edgware become one of the United Synagogue’s leading communities.

Among guests at the service — which was enriched by the voices of chazan Jonny Turgel and the Shabbaton Choir — were United Synagogue president Dr Simon Hochhauser, US trustees and interim chief exexcutive Stuart Taylor. Dayanim Chanoch Ehrentreu and Yonason Abraham were also present, as were rabbis of many neighbouring communities, Hendon MP Andrew Dismore and Barnet Mayor Councillor Maureen Braun.

Last updated: 11:21am, July 8 2009