Chief Rabbi candidate Soloveichik visits UK

An American rabbi who has been touted as a possible successor to Lord Sacks as chief rabbi made his mark on a short visit to the UK this week.

But British Orthodox rabbis were divided over whether Rabbi Meir Soloveichik was suitable to be their next spiritual leader.

Rabbi Soloveichik, associate rabbi at one of New York’s most prestigious congregations and head of a Yeshiva University think tank, was guest speaker at Lord Sacks’s annual pre-High Holy Day conference for rabbis.

So far he has neither publicly indicated whether he is interested in the chief rabbinate nor moved to dampen speculation among those who believe he is still in the running.

One rabbi who heard him over the two-day conference said that he was “clearly an inspiring speaker, a genius on a par with the Chief Rabbi”. But he added: “I don’t think anyone seriously thinks he will be chief rabbi.”

But another colleague said that Rabbi Soloveichik, 35, was a “great guy with great potential. He could be a candidate. I have emphasised to people at the top that they must appoint someone of international reputation, someone who is head-and-shoulders above everyone else.”

A third rabbi also left the conference “highly impressed” with Rabbi Soloveichik, but said it was “a commonly held view that the next chief rabbi should be a home-grown product”.

Last updated: 5:03pm, October 16 2012