Radlett selects 'inspirational' Hughes for rabbi's post


Richmond Synagogue's Rabbi Jonathan Hughes is set to fill the ministerial vacancy at Radlett United.

Subject to ratification by members at a special general meeting, Rabbi Hughes will join the Hertfordshire congregation towards the end of the year.

Rabbi Hughes's path to the Orthodox ministry was anything but traditional. With a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father, he grew up in Reading with only a shadowy awareness of his heritage. A career in professional football beckoned at one point as he spent time in the Swindon Town and Reading academies.

It was at university where, having become friendly with an Orthodox fellow student, he began exploring Judaism, attending outreach organisations such as Aish and the Jewish Learning Exchange. He was circumcised at the age of 20.

After gaining his law degree, he studied in Israel at a yeshivah. It was in Israel where he met his wife, Chana, who had attended Hasmonean and Gateshead Seminary. He remained on the yeshivah staff as a teacher before returning to the UK in 2011, where he became assistant minister at Hendon Synagogue.

In their two years at Richmond, Rabbi Hughes and Chana have become hugely popular with the community. At Radlett, the intention is for the rebbetzin to continue her work with women and families.

Radlett chair Alex Pomerance believes the couple will be "perfect for Radlett.

"Over the past 10 months we have met and interviewed several rabbonim," he reported. "While all of them had some excellent qualities, we have realised that in Rabbi Hughes we have found someone who will inspire us individually and as a community. Not only is he someone our children will want to look up to. He will take all of us on a journey that will increase our Jewish education and improve our Yiddishkeit."

The community will get the chance to meet the Hughes family - the couple have four young children - when they spend a Shabbat in Radlett later this month.

Radlett has been without a minister since Rabbi Leo Dee left for Israel last summer.

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