Champion of ‘just and open Judaism’ dies

By Marcus Dysch, December 11, 2008
Rabbi Mickey Rosen

Rabbi Mickey Rosen

Rabbi Dr Michael Rosen, founder of Yakar, the alternative Jewish community centre, died this week.

He was in his late 50s and had suffered from a degenerative neurological disorder for some time. He was injured in a fall last month and died on Sunday night in Israel, where he had lived since 1993 with his wife, Gila, and their six children.

More than 1,000 people attended his funeral, which was held in Jerusalem on Monday.

He was ordained in Israel in 1973 and received his doctorate from London University in 1994. He was the author of The Quest for Authenticity, a book about the Chasidie master, Rabbi Simcha Bunim.

In 1977, Rabbi Dr Rosen, known universally as Mickey, founded Yakar, an independent Orthodox congregation, in Hendon, North West London. It was named after his late father, Rabbi Kopul Rosen, the founder of Carmel College.

According to a brief biography on the Yakar website, it is his “vision of a resonant, relevant, just and open Judaism” that fuels Yakar.

Mickey Rosen was one of three brothers, all rabbis, and a younger sister, Ayelet. The eldest of the brothers, Jeremy, is a former headmaster of Carmel, and the youngest, David, a former Chief Rabbi of Ireland.

Rabbi Mickey Rosen set up Yakar Jerusalem after moving to Israel. A branch opened in Tel Aviv last year.

His son, Shlomo Dov, said: “He was a man of great depth and openness. He cared about what was real.”

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen said of his brother: “The most important thing about him was that he stood for passionate commitment to Judaism with social responsibility and an open mind. That’s incredibly rare in the world today.”

Last updated: 1:39pm, December 11 2008