The chaplain's soccer past

By Simon Rocker, June 10, 2011

At least one rabbi would have rejoiced at QPR's promotion to the Premier League: Rabbi Ariel Friedlander, who is set to become Liberal Judaism's first designated university chaplain. Because, before the rabbinate, she used to be one of the club's official photographers.

She started going to Loftus Road as a child to watch games with her father, the late Rabbi Albert Friedlander. Later, as a dab hand with the camera, she followed the club with her lens.

But an incident in her mid-20s some 20 years ago prompted her to change career. She had gone to an away game at Spurs on Rosh Hashanah afternoon.

But when thunder and lightning raged across the skies, she began to have second thoughts about attending. And when the crowd started chanting, "Does your rabbi know you're here?" to the Spurs fans, she recalled that she became so hysterical that "I jumped up and left."

After qualifying and working as a rabbi in America, she has returned home and is due to take up her new part-time post in July.

Last updated: 10:43am, June 10 2011