Process Moves Forward to Select the U.K.’s Next Chief Rabbi

Chief Rabbinate Trust Launches Appointment Process for the Next
Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth

The Chief Rabbinate Trust (CRT) has formally launched the process for the appointment of the Rabbi who will succeed Lord Sacks as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, when he steps down in September of 2013. It is hoped that the process will be completed by early 2013.

The title of Chief Rabbi is one that dates back to 1704 when Rabbi Aaron Hart became the first Chief Rabbi of the Great Synagogue in London. Today, the role embodies the leading spiritual and communal figure in British Jewry.

The process was formulated following wide-ranging consultation across a number of key stakeholders in the Jewish community. It is the most transparent and inclusive process ever devised for the recruitment of a Chief Rabbi. A real emphasis has been placed on involving elected community representatives alongside Rabbis and communal leaders as well as consultation throughout, with a broad cross section of the community.

The process will be carried out by three groups. First, a Representative Group which will be comprised of a cross-section of the community including the chairman and a woman elected to the Board of Management of every affiliated synagogue community. In addition there will be comprehensive representation of communal institutions for whom the Chief Rabbi is recognized as their religious authority. These include, Jewish schools, Jewish Chaplaincy, The London Board for Shechita and the Initiation Society. The second, smaller, Consulting Group will include representation from the larger Representative Group as well as Trustees of the Chief Rabbinate Trust, and United Synagogue Trustees. Thirdly, a Working Group will carry out much of the day-to-day work involved in the process. This will be comprised of senior members of the CRT, United Synagogue and non-United Synagogue communities.

Stephen Pack, President of the Chief Rabbinate Trust, has pledged to ensure that the community will be regularly updated on the progress made by each group. He commented, “This is a process which carries with it a huge amount of responsibility and we have therefore developed an open and accountable process spreading that responsibility across many more stakeholders than ever before.”

At a press conference, explaining the process to journalists Pack added, “Our commitment is to a process designed, above all, to select the best candidate.”