Charles Wallach was inducted as minister of Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue on Shabbat before a congregation of 300 including local Labour MP Celia Barlow and Brighton Mayor Councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn.
It is a second spell in Brighton for Rabbi Wallach, 58, who served the local Progressive community for over a decade from 1977. He has also worked for congregations in Australia, Israel and his native Johannesburg.
Rabbi Wallach pledged to work harmoniously with all sections of the city's Jewish and wider community. Representatives of Brighton's Orthodox synagogues were among guests at the induction.
Taking up the unity theme, Reform movement head Rabbi Tony Bayfield reiterated the call made by non-Orthodox groupings last week for a new model of religious leadership committed to pluralism. "I'm not challenging the Chief Rabbi's authority but we need to work together in a spirit of mutual respect."
He went on to commend Brighton Reform's "good sense" in recruiting Rabbi Wallach, a good friend of his.