There was standing room only at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue on Shabbat as more than 600 people attended the induction of senior minister Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz.
Conducting the ceremony, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said the Borehamwood congregation was one of the United Synagogue's "crown jewels". It had recruited a rabbi who would be both a teacher and friend.
In response, Rabbi Kanterovitz - who joined the shul in November after serving Manchester's Yeshurun Synagogue - said he hoped the community would become a beacon of modern Orthodoxy and religious Zionism.
Emeritus rabbi Alan Plancey and former BES ministers, rabbis Naftali Brawer and Shimshon Silkin were among the congregation, as were US president Stephen Pack and local MP James Clappison.
"We were thrilled to have such a strong turnout for the induction," said Borehamwood chair Anne Gordon. "Although he and his wife have only been with us for a few months, they have already made a huge impact on the community."
A weekend of celebration was launched by a Friday-night dinner for 200 at nearby Yavneh College, which was addressed by Rabbi Mirvis and Mr Pack. A Shabbat afternoon seudah attracted 300 people to hear the chief rabbi, Rabbi Kanterovitz's daughter Datya and Holocaust survivor Alec Ward.