Shock as Birm­ing­ham rabbi dies sud­denly

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY LEON SY­MONS

TRIBUTES, LED by the Chief Rabbi, have been paid to the life and work of Birm­ing­ham He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion’s chief min­is­ter for 21 years, Rabbi Leonard Tann, who died sud­denly at his home on Mon­day. He was 62.

Po­lice broke into the fam­ily’s home to­gether with the syn­a­gogue’s ad­min­is­tra­tor af­ter Rabbi Tann’s wife Irene, who was in hospi­tal for a mi­nor pro­ce­dure, could not con­tact him af­ter he had failed to visit her.

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks de­scribed Rabbi Tann as “one of the most-loved rab­bis in Bri­tain, who spoke with the still, small voice of true spir­i­tu­al­ity”.

Birm­ing­ham’s chair­man, Keith Rowe, said: “The whole con­gre­ga­tion is shocked. We knew he had been suf­fer­ing from heart prob­lems and he had been in and out of hospi­tal in the last few weeks. But his death has come out of the blue and will leave a huge hole in Birm­ing­ham’s Jewish life.

“He was a fan­tas­tic com­mu­nal rabbi as well as be­ing a lead­ing light in the city’s in­ter­faith work, and our hearts go out to Irene and their son Roger.”

Rabbi Tann’s com­mu­nity and in­ter­faith work earned him an hon­orary doc­tor­ate from Birm­ing­ham’s As­ton Univer­sity in July, 2005. He also taught He­brew at St Mary’s Col­lege, in Os­cott.

The Catholic Arch­bishop of Birm­ing­ham, Vin­cent Nichols, said: “I am deeply sad­dened by the death of Rabbi Tann. It was his gen­er­ous-hearted com­pas­sion that first drew to­gether the lead­ers of all the dif­fer­ent faiths in the city at the time of the World Trade Cen­tre tragedy on 9/11.”

This sum­mer, the syn­a­gogue’s ex­ec­u­tive de­cided to ex­change the roles of its two rab­bis. Rabbi Tann was to be the se­nior rabbi and Rabbi Yossi Ja­cobs, his as­sis­tant, would be­come the chief min­is­ter.

The change pro­voked con­tro­versy in the com­mu­nity, a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of whom called for an ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eral meet­ing to dis­cuss the change.

How­ever, af­ter talks with Rabbi Tann, no EGM was held, and, in­di­cat­ing that he ac­cepted the changes, Rabbi Tann called for peace dur­ing a ser­mon over the High Holy Days.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.