Cheder teacher to return as rabbi to Brighton shul

Gabriel Kanter-Webber will lead the city's Progressive community after receiving his semichah


Gabriel Kanter-Webber is to be Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue’s new minister, following the retirement of the long-serving Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah.

Currently a rabbinic student at Leo Baeck College, he will officially join the synagogue next summer after receiving his semichah.

Mr Kanter-Webber is already known to many of the congregation from his time teaching at the shul’s cheder.

“It was BHPS, in my days as an undergraduate at Sussex, that inspired me to train as a rabbi,” he recalled.

“Being part of such a warm, welcoming and passionate community was a huge thrill every Shabbat.

“The fact that I’m going to return ten years later as rabbi has still not quite sunk in but it feels like a perfect shidduch.”

Another link is BHPS’s interim rabbi — the former Liberal Judaism chief executive, Danny Rich. Mr Kanter-Webber grew up within the Kingston Liberal community when Rabbi Rich was minister there.

After university, Mr Kanter-Webber spent a year as a youth movement worker for LJY-Netzer.

He is now in his fifth and final year of rabbinic training and working on his master’s dissertation, which explores whether rabbis who commit serious misconduct can and should have their semichah revoked.

BHPS chair Louise Mordecai said: “We are delighted that Gabriel Kanter-Webber is joining us as a full-time rabbi [and] will be moving down to Brighton with his wife and young son.

“We are looking forward to a new era for BHPS. Gabriel will introduce his own style and particular interests. But we know that he is committed to the ethos and practices of Liberal Judaism and that he will continue to promote our reputation as a friendly and inclusive congregation which welcomes people from all backgrounds, faiths and sexual orientations.”

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