Nottingham rabbi takes on Elstree challenge

Tanya Sakhnovich sees her upcoming role at The Liberal Synagogue Elstree as a 'wonderful opportunity'


Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich is to succeed the long-serving Rabbi Pete Tobias at The Liberal Synagogue Elstree.

Currently minister at Nottingham Liberal Synagogue, Rabbi Sakhnovich will officially join TLSE on September 1, although she will be working with her new community behind the scenes before then to make preparations for the High Holy-Days. Rabbi Tobias is leaving the shul at the end of June to start a new life in California.

In a message to her new congregants, Rabbi Sakhnovich thanked the shul for a “wonderful opportunity”. She looked forward to becoming TLSE’s first woman minister but would find it “a little daunting” to take over from Rabbi Tobias, who has served the shul for 18 years and been “an inspiration to my generation of Liberal rabbis.

“It is an honour to be chosen as his successor and to work with you all to build on his legacy.”

Her son had grown up within Nottingham’s Jewish community and Rabbi Sakhnovich hoped to maintain her close ties with the area.

The Nottingham shul will be launching a search for her replacement and Rabbi Sakhnovich advised potential applicants: “You will not regret it. NLS is a great and dynamic community which appreciates and supports their rabbi.”

Paying tribute to Rabbi Tobias, TLSE chair Mike Walton said he had been “our guiding light, innovating, stimulating and challenging us all to bring Liberal Judaism to life”.

And Rabbi Tobias has welcomed his “thoughtful, wise and charming” successor. “I think it’s a great match.”

Rabbi Sakhnovich will also be taking up a part-time role with Leo Baeck College to oversee the placement of their trainee rabbis into the community.

She herself is a graduate of the Finchley-based rabbinical training seminary and Leo Baeck dean Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh said she would bring to the role “20 years of experience working with World Union for Progressive Judaism communities; a profound understanding of the role of the congregational rabbi and wide and strong relationships with many colleagues in the UK and continental Europe”.

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