Mill Hill Synagogue's Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet is stepping down after a three-year stint as chairman of the United Synagogue's rabbinical council (RCUS), prompting a contested election to succeed him.
Rabbi Julian Shindler, executive director of RCUS, said that three rabbis had so far been nominated for the post ahead of next Tuesday's vote but he could not reveal their names until after nominations close today (Friday).
But two of the candidates, the JC has learned, are Rabbi Simon Harris of Wembley Synagogue and Rabbi Baruch Davis of Chigwell Synagogue.
Rabbi Schochet, who gave the council a more assertive voice under his leadership, said he would not reveal his reasons for declining to seek a second term until next week's meeting. But he commented: "It's been a good many years since there has been a contested election. It indicates that RCUS has become more of a proactive force."
One of the responsibilities of the new chairman will be communicating the views of the rabbinate over the appointment of the next Chief Rabbi.
But neither Rabbi Davis or Harris support Rabbi Schochet's recent call for the next Chief Rabbi to be elected by a ballot of synagogue members.