Progressives ordain new UK rabbis

Ministers will serve communities in South London and Eastbourne


Two new Progressive rabbis have been ordained by Leo Baeck College after five years of studies in a ceremony at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood.

The Leo Baeck dean, Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh, officiated at the ceremony for rabbis Nathan Godleman and Roberta Harris-Eckstein.

In the tradition of the college, they were presented for ordination by teachers and loved ones who had shared their journey. For Rabbi Godleman, the presenters were Rabbi David Hulbert, Dr Linda McDonald and Rabbi Mark Solomon; for Rabbi Harris-Eckstein, Jeremy Eckstein, Pamela Neil and Prudence Tyler did the honours.

Leading figures in Progressive Judaism were also involved, among them Danny Rich and Laura Janner-Klausner, the senior rabbis of Liberal and Reform Judaism.

Rabbi Godleman has joined South London Liberal Synagogue as the community’s full-time rabbi after serving the Streatham-based congregation for two years as student minister. Rabbi Harris-Eckstein becomes the first rabbi at Eastbourne Liberal Jewish Community, a small but growing congregation attracting members from throughout East Sussex. She will split her time between the Eastbourne role and working with Liberal Judaism on chaplaincy for older people.

Speaking afterwards, Rabbi Middleburgh said that many at the ceremony had told him that “this was the most moving and inspiring ordination they had ever attended. We are deeply grateful to all who contributed to making our service so very special.”

Rabbi Rich added: “I have got to know Nathan and Roberta over the past five years and I am delighted they will now both serve Liberal Judaism communities. The fact that two such talented rabbis are joining the religious leadership of Liberal Judaism is testament to the partnership between our movement and its congregations.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive