People to choose chief rabbi?

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 20, 2011

A prominent Manchester rabbi has said that the Jewish public must have the ultimate vote in choosing a chief rabbi but candidates must also be vetted first by "competent" rabbis.

Rabbi Yossi Chazan, of the Holy Law South Broughton Synagogue, said common sense demanded that if the chief rabbi were to represent the community, "he has to come from the people."

He was speaking at a controversial lecture on the topic which attracted 250 people to Holy Law last Shabbat.

But Rabbi Chazan disagreed with the idea of full public elections, concerned that they might become too political. It was "simple common sense" that a high quality scholar of Judaism with the ability to make complex decisions in Jewish law could not be selected solely by lay members of the public. He suggested a two-stage process where candidates would be interviewed by a panel of highly qualified rabbis, but synagogue members would have the ultimate vote.

Last updated: 10:47am, May 20 2011