Chain of office weighs heavily on rabbi who is Hertsmere's new Mayor

Alan Plancey has issues with the ceremonial garb but relishes his new civic role


After one week as Hertsmere Mayor, Rabbi Alan Plancey describes the role as “the best thing ever”, although the ceremonial garb brings its own problems.

“The gold chain is very heavy and so is the velvet that comes with it,” he reported.

“And the case the chain goes in is heavier than the chain itself and you have to carry that on your own. I don’t even get a car.”

Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue’s emeritus rabbi was re-elected for the Tories in Brookmeadow ward in Borehamwood in this month’s local elections.

He said his new role was “a tremendous honour. I’ve already been really busy visiting schools. I’ve been to a musical concert. I’ve been asked to speak to cubs and guides. It is great and I really love being able to do it.”

Rabbi Plancey — who believes he is the first UK rabbi to become a mayor — also sees the post as an opportunity to show the Jewish community being positively involved in the wider world.

“It is important, especially when antisemitism is on the rise and there is so much negativity around. I want to show the positive impact the Jewish community can have on society. As a councillor and rabbi I’ve made friends across the borough from all different backgrounds.”

As mayor, he will support the workof mental health charity Mind, as well as Camp Simcha, which assists Jewish families coping with serious childhood illness.

He continues to play an active role in the shul he led for 30 years and serves on Norwood’s Advisory Council.

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