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Belsize Square Synagogue's Rabbi Rodney Mariner used a Yomtov sermon to put an end to speculation about his future by announcing that he will become emeritus rabbi on his retirement in three years' time.
"The board have offered me this and I have accepted it - though I am not sure what it means," he told congregants.
Rabbi Mariner, 67, who has served the community for 26 years, said a successor would be sought in 2010. This would allow for an overlap period and for a sabbatical for him and his wife, Sue, who has run the children's choir for 31 years and oversees the congregation's German-tradition liturgical music.
An earlier committee set up to find a successor when Rabbi Mariner reached 65 failed to secure the desired candidate.
Rabbi Mariner then negotiated with the synagogue board to stay on until the age of 70.