Rabbinic couple up sticks for Brum role

Yossi and Channah Hambling are filling the vacancy at Birmingham Central United Synagogue


Yossi and Channah Hambling are Birmingham Central United Synagogue’s new rabbinic couple, filling a two-year vacancy.

The Hamblings are currently in Israel completing their studies. Because of pandemic travel restrictions, the recruitment process was conducted online, with the couple meeting members of the Midlands congregation via Zoom.

Following a unanimous vote for their appointment, they will start their duties next month.

Rabbi Hambling grew up in Ilford. Encouraged by his family and his local rabbi, he became increasingly involved in shul leadership through his teenage years. He helped revive the local branch of Bnei Akiva, heading it until he completed his secondary education at Hasmonean High.

He then studied in Israel, returning to London to take Hebrew and Jewish studies at UCL, which both broadened his understanding of Jewish civilisation and fuelled a love of Jewish history.

After he graduated from UCL in 2018, the Hamblings moved to Israel on a Mizrachi UK rabbinic fellowship. He is studying at Yeshivat Har Etzion, is a participant in Shalhevet, the leadership training programme of the World Mizrachi Movement, and is completing his semichah through Mizrachi’s Musmachim programme.

Raised in Finchley, Channah Hambling was also involved in Bnei Akiva, running the Woodside Park branch. After attending Hasmonean High, she also studied in Israel for a year, combining Torah learning with volunteering work.

Back in London, she gained a foundation diploma in fashion design from the University of the Arts and a BA in fashion from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

She also boasts experience in retail and administration and plans to launch a small business, creating knitted headbands, hats and scarves, in tandem with her rebbetzen duties. The couple have a daughter, Temimah.

Rabbi Hambling said he and his wife were “very excited to be taking up our new roles at Birmingham Central.

“We have already been deeply impressed with this historic synagogue’s commitment to Torah education, shul services and community welfare.

“As we start to move out of the pandemic, we look forward to working with the community to enhance and innovate in all of these areas, turning the challenges of the last year into opportunities for meaningful growth and development.”

Birmingham Central chair Geoffrey Clements was “thrilled” by the appointment.

“They are a young, dynamic rabbinic couple with a strong background in Jewish community leadership and education and a broad range of experiences in the academic and professional spheres.

“Appointing a rabbinic couple in Covid times has been an exciting challenge.

“Nobody could have foreseen that we would be forced to recruit, interview and agree to their appointment without ever seeing them in person.

“Fortunately, the Hamblings are an outstanding couple and they overcame all of these challenges. Our community has spent the whole of the pandemic without a rabbi and rebbetzen and we cannot wait to finally meet them when they arrive in July.”

Birmingham Central offers daily morning and evening services, a range of social and educational programmes and an on-site kosher deli and mikveh. The community joined the US in 2017.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive