Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Calls for an elected chief rabbi

    Rabbi Schochet
    Rabbi Schochet

    A prominent United Synagogue rabbi this week put his weight behind calls for publicly electing the next chief rabbi.

    Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, of Mill Hill Synagogue, who chairs the US Rabbinical Council, challenged the prospect of Lord Sacks's successor in two years being chosen "by a small band of merry men sitting behind closed doors".

    Rabbi Yossi Chazan of Manchester's Holy Law Synagogue last week aired the idea of a ballot to approve the next chief rabbi.

    Now Rabbi Schochet has gone further and advocated a US-style presidential campaign. A number of candidates who meet the job criteria, he said, "could put themselves forward and then, through a series of high-profile lectures and debates on [what] matters to the people, it'll all whittle down to a select few, who would then be subject to a vote".

    Responsibility for choosing a chief rabbi currently lies with the nine trustees of the Chief Rabbinate Trust. They are chaired by former United Synagogue president Peter Sheldon and include Lady Winston, Professor Leslie Wagner and hedge-fund manager Stuart Roden.

    Malvyn Benjamin, a member of the US's lay council, which discussed the chief rabbinate on Monday, was in favour of a ballot. "I'd like to see all of the United Synagogues have polling stations where we can cast our votes," he said.

    But Rabbi Daniel Levy of the United Hebrew Congregation, Leeds, said: "I would approach any form of election with caution, because there is a danger that the person will be chosen not necessarily on merit, but how well his election campaign is orchestrated."

    The Orthodox rabbinate holds divergent views about its future leader. Names of preferred candidates doing the rounds range from the Gateshead Rav, Rabbi Shraga Feivel Zimmerman, to more modern Orthodox Americans such as Dayan Michael Broyde, and Rabbis JJ Schachter and Meir Soloveitchik.

    The scheduled appearance of South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein at Lord Sacks's High Holy Day conference in autumn has increased speculation about his chances.

    Meanwhile, Rabbi Schochet ventured that he was "not convinced" whether a single chief rabbi was the way ahead.

Uk News

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'

Marcus Dysch

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'
Special Reports

Dublin benefits from overseas aid

Barry Toberman

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dublin benefits from overseas aid
Uk News

Luciana Berger troll driven by 'fierce antisemitism'

JC Reporter

Monday, December 5, 2016

Luciana Berger troll driven by 'fierce antisemitism'
Uk News

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees
Uk News

Limmud: Food for thought at session on 'ethical eating'

By Simon Rocker

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Limmud: Food for thought at session on 'ethical eating'
Uk News

Local MP blocks visit from David Irving's 'secret tour'

Rosa Doherty

Friday, December 2, 2016

Local MP blocks visit from David Irving's 'secret tour'
Uk News

Anti-Israel conference faces delay

Lee Harpin

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Anti-Israel conference faces delay
Uk News

Commission criticised over inquiry into 'antisemitic' charity

Daniel Sugarman

Monday, December 5, 2016

Commission criticised over inquiry into 'antisemitic' charity
Uk News

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs dies aged 86

JC Reporter

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs dies aged 86