A rabbi who was once on the books of the Reading and Swindon Town football academies has met Richmond Synagogue’s selection goals.
Rabbi Jonny Hughes and his wife Chana, currently the associate rabbinic couple at Hendon Synagogue, start at Richmond in November, where they will lead a congregation of over 200 members. The number of young families is growing and there is a thriving cheder.
The appointments, by almost unanimous vote, were made almost a year to the day of the departure of the previous incumbent, Rabbi Yossi Ives.
Originally from Reading, Rabbi Hughes has an unlikely background for an Orthodox minister. His mother is Jewish, his father is not and he only came to Judaism at university, where he threw himself into exploring his religion.
He met his wife in Israel, where he studied at yeshivah after gaining his law degree. Rabbi Hughes is also a songwriter and his footballing past will endear him to many among the Richmond membership. “Unusually he probably knows more about the game than the majority of his congregants”, said Richmond chair Jon Katzauer.
The rebbetzen is a graphic designer who holds a teaching degree and is studying for another in psychology. The Hughes are in their early 30s and have two young children.
Describing Rabbi Hughes as “a rising star”, Mr Katzauer went on: “Rabbi and Rebbetzen Hughes are possessed of personalities and philosophies so well suited to the community. We did not want to settle for an average rabbinic couple. With these two, we don’t have to.”
Rabbi Hughes looked forward “to helping to build Richmond into a thriving centre of Jewish life in south-west London”.