Putting their shirt on Salasnik


A retro Watford football shirt with his name on the back and a letter from David Cameron were among the surprises for Bushey Synagogue's Rabbi Meir Salasnik at a "This is your life" event marking his farewell to the Hertfordshire US congregation.

Almost 700 people packed the Watford Colosseum to celebrate the 37-year contribution of Rabbi Salasnik and his wife Judy.

Speakers included emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, who recalled that he had applied for the minister's post at Bushey at the same time as Rabbi Salasnik. "The better man won," he conceded. Tributes were also paid by local MP Oliver Dowden and parish priest Robbie Low, who highlighted Rabbi Salasnik's interfaith work.

Eitan Na'eh, Israel's deputy UK ambassador, offered an amusing 20-step guide to the Salasniks for making a success of their new life in Israel.

The Watford shirt was circa 1979 - the year the Salasniks started in Bushey - signed by the current squad and had "Salasnik 37" on the back. It was presented by Watford fans Jeremy and Jeanine Ottman, the first couple married by Rabbi Salasnik in the then new shul 30 years ago. A final surprise was the appearance of family members from Israel.

Rabbi Salasnik said afterwards that he and his wife had been "moved by the love, respect and warmth shown to us by so many people".

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