Stepping into large shoes, Rabbi Daniel Walker has officially taken over at Heaton Park Hebrew Congregation from the Rev Leslie Olsberg, who has served the community for 36 years.
The 31-year-old Lubavitch rabbi, who has a particular interest in Jewish history, hopes to build on the spirit he has found in the 900-strong North Manchester congregation.
He intends to start a class on “the beauty of prayer. I’m going to focus on developing relationships with people — that’s a strength I have. I feel the key is that a rabbi has to be part of the community.”
Rabbi Walker comes to Heaton Park from the Lubavitch centre in South Manchester, where he worked mainly with youngsters. A one-day workshop in matzah and shofar-making reached 1,500 pupils across Manchester’s Jewish schools.
Synagogue president Robert Conrad is delighted with the appointment, saying: “Young, vibrant and energetic are three good words to describe Rabbi Walker.” He hoped he would continue the “wonderful work” of Rev Olsberg, 86, who has been made emeritus minister.