Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue’s interim senior minister is no longer seeking to make the post permanent.
Rabbi Shimson Silkin said this week that despite “considerable pressure to reapply”, he felt “it would be best for all concerned to turn the page and open a new chapter”.
The minister has been in the role since September 2011. After a recruitment process lasting more than a year, he was controversially passed over for the permanent position, along with two other shortlisted candidates. The Borehamwood board decided that none of the three contenders would command overwhelming support within the congregation.
He subsequently agreed to stay on in the interim role for a further 12 months “out of respect and appreciation” for the backing he had received from community members. This “remarkable support” had convinced Rabbi Silkin and his wife Sarah to stay in Borehamwood “and we are currently exploring a number of exciting options”.
New Borehamwood and Elstree chair Stephen Forman confirmed that “constructive discussions” about a potential role for Rabbi Silkin in the community were ongoing.
Meanwhile, the selection advisory group set up more than a year ago is to reconvene to start a fresh search for a senior rabbi.
The group will include 14 congregants representing a cross-section of the membership and two board members. It will be headed by Mr Forman and the other replacements for the honorary officers who resigned in the summer in the fall-out over the selection process.
“The previous selection advisory group has done much of the preliminary work,” Mr Forman pointed out. “But we will be revisiting the selection criteria.”