Reykjavik, the last European capital city without a synagogue, is to gain its first rabbi.
Rabbi Avi Feldman will be moving to the Icelandic capital to establish the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Centre of Iceland.
As head of the Reykjavik Chabad congregation, the Brooklyn-born rabbi will oversee a community of 250 Jews in a country where circumcision could soon be outlawed and the ritual slaughter of animals is illegal.
Rabbi Feldman and his Swedish wife, Mushky, previously visited Iceland in December to organise a Chanukah celebration. They hope to introduce a synagogue, cheder and mikvah to Reykjavik.
Rabbi Feldman described his appointment as “a challenge”, but emphasised the “tremendous opportunity to set up a living breathing community. We want to focus on the Jewish needs of everyone who lives, works or travels to Iceland”.
Mrs Feldman said: “On social media, I kept seeing people traveling to Iceland. I told my husband that we should start looking at it more seriously.”
Mike Levin, a volunteer from Chicago who currently runs the Icelandic community, said: “If someone puts their full-time concentration on Jewish life in Iceland, they can do a lot of things here.”
The Feldmans will travel to Iceland next month in time to prepare for Pesach before settling permanently later in the year.