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He's now heading the Fed

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London Rabbi Avi Lazarus started work this week as the Federation of Synagogues' new chief executive.

The 38-year-old has been operations director of family education organisation Project Seed for the past seven-and-a-half years. Educated at City of London School, he received his rabbinic ordination 10 years ago. He has also previously worked at the United Synagogue on in-house training for rabbis and a pre-marriage programme for couples.

Federation president Andrew Cohen said Rabbi Lazarus "brings a wealth of experience, together with a broad and deep understanding of the social, religious and political scene of the Jewish community. These are exciting times as we embark on delivering a revitalised organisation." Rabbi Lazarus succeeds Dr Eli Kienwald, who retired a few weeks ago after over six years in charge.

Founded in the East End of London in 1887, the Federation has launched new congregations over the past few years in Elstree, Hendon and Manchester.

Mr Cohen said it was also planning to expand its Beth Din and its kashrut supervision service and was on the lookout for a new home for Finchley Central Synagogue after selling the congregation's building in Redbourne Avenue. In recent years members have held services at Pardes House School in order to be able to use the North-West London Eruv.

Miles Boydon, a member of the synagogue's management committee, said the sale was of "paramount significance to the future of the kehillah [congregation] that has fundamentally changed under the inspirational leadership of Rabbi Yaakov Hamer and with the support of the Federation". To cater for an increasing number of young families, the new premises had to be within the eruv "to support the vibrant children's services and enable the whole family to be part of the kehillah".

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