Glasgow’s two largest Orthodox congregations — Giffnock and Newlands and Newton Mearns — have joined forces to recruit the city’s first youth and community rabbi.
The appointment of Rabbi Eliezer Wolfson, 30, has been sponsored by the Glasgow Jewish Community Trust, Tribe and the Queen’s Park Charitable Trust. Born in Liverpool, Rabbi Wolfson attended yeshivot in Gateshead and Jerusalem before studying law at Manchester University. He then returned to Israel, where he received his semicha earlier this year. He has come to Glasgow with his wife Elisheva and three children.
“It’s our job to try to make Judaism relevant and inspiring for the youth,” he said. “They should want to live in Glasgow because it should be a place that offers services and activities for them. The community is shrinking yet there is still a lot of life and tremendous potential here.”
Giffnock chairman Nigel Allon was “delighted” at Rabbi Wolfson’s appointment. “He’s a marvellous man with a marvellous education, both secular and religious.” His Newton Mearns counterpart Brian Fox was “keen to improve the religious facilities for the youth in Glasgow”.
The appointment comes as a proposed merger between the two congregations has been shelved.
Mr Fox said the congregations “decided they didn’t want to go down that road at this time. People have different reasons but I think at the end of the day they wanted to retain their independence.”