A former Hasmonean Preparatory head boy who was raised in an Orthodox environment has been inducted as Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue’s assistant minister.
Rabbi David Mitchell, who switched to Reform Judaism while at Oxford University, was welcomed as the shul’s “first second minister” by an audience of 200.
The service was conducted by principal minister Rabbi Paul Freedman and Reform chief executive Rabbi Tony Bayfield. “You already have one of the most outstanding Reform rabbis in Paul Freedman, and now, with David Mitchell, with the benefit of his unique journey from orthodoxy to Reform, you have two truly tremendous ministers,” Rabbi Bayfield said.
Rabbi Mitchell, 29, received his semichah from Leo Baeck College two months ago. He is no stranger to Radlett, having served for the past three years as its part-time student rabbi and director of education. Moving to a full-time post would enable him to further develop his role, both as director of youth programmes and head of cheder, where the number of pupils has almost doubled since his arrival — “just one testimony to our growth,” he said in his address.
Radlett Reform now has over 1,000 adult members, plus well over half as many students and children and Rabbi Mitchell has been impressed by the high level of involvement in activities.
“Having two full-time rabbis offers us wonderful opportunities to expand what we offer as a community,” said Rabbi Freedman.