Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was in Ireland at the weekend to induct Rabbi David Singer as minister of Belfast Jewry.
Former Olympic golden girl Mary Peters, now the city's Lord Lieutenant, and ex-Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble were among a congregation of 220 at Belfast Synagogue. They were welcomed by Belfast Jewish Community president Ronnie Appleton, who spoke about some of the new rabbi's eminent predecessors. "Rabbi Isaac Herzog, who was our rabbi, went on to be Chief Rabbi of Israel and his son Chaim, born in Belfast, went on to be President of Israel.
"Rabbi Singer has been with us for almost a year and in that time has breathed new life into our community. He and his wife Judith have endeared themselves to us and we look forward to them being with us for many years to come."
The Chief Rabbi said that "totally disproportionate to its numbers, the contribution of Belfast's Jewry has been quite spectacular within Northern Ireland.
"This community has never been well known for its quantity, but it is well renowned for its quality." Rabbi Singer was "yet another outstanding spiritual shepherd who has been appointed to lead Belfast's Jewry".
Responding, Rabbi Singer hoped the Belfast community "will be able to grow in strength and in harmony with its neighbours and together with the community that resides across the water".