Rabbi Gordon evokes the spirit of Louis Jacobs at his induction

Rabbi Jeremy Gordon was on Sunday inducted as the spiritual leader of the New London Synagogue, the St John’s Wood congregation founded by the late Rabbi Louis Jacobs.

Newly installed Westminster Lord Mayor Louise Hyams was among the guests celebrating the arrival of Rabbi Gordon, who grew up in the community and had previously led St Albans Masorti Synagogue.

Officiating at the ceremony was Rabbi Reuven Hammer, a leading Masorti figure who served New London as interim minister for two years after Rabbi Jacobs’s retirement. Rabbi Hammer travelled from Jerusalem to take part.

“You are to be congratulated,” he told the congregation, “because in selecting Rabbi Gordon, you have been fortunate to find a leader who has intelligence, wit, energy, eloquence, knowledge and understanding, and above all, a great desire to teach and to impart the beauty and depth of Judaism and to make it relevant to everyone’s life”.

Community members contributed their musical gifts to the occasion, with new settings of verses from the Prophets from New London’s chazan Stephen Cotsen and the composer Julian Dawes.

In his remarks, Rabbi Gordon quoted from Rabbi Jacobs’s own induction address at the New West End United Synagogue 54 years ago. “I hope that the Judaism I preach from this pulpit will be a courageous Judaism. To the best of my ability, I will see to it that no shallow, spineless Judaism, one demanding no challenge and presenting no sacrifice, shall be preached here. But I hope that I shall also see to it that no harsh, unsympathetic, inhuman interpretation of Judaism is voiced here, either.”

    Last updated: 11:20am, July 8 2009