Rabbi Gor­don evokes the spirit of Louis Ja­cobs at his in­duc­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY LIFE - BY SI­MON ROCKER

RABBI JEREMY Gor­don was on Sun­day in­ducted as the spir­i­tual leader of the New Lon­don Syn­a­gogue, the St John’s Wood con­gre­ga­tion founded by the late Rabbi Louis Ja­cobs.

Newly in­stalled West­min­ster Lord Mayor Louise Hyams was among the guests cel­e­brat­ing the ar­rival of Rabbi Gor­don, who grew up in the com­mu­nity and had pre­vi­ously led St Al­bans Ma­sorti Syn­a­gogue.

Of­fi­ci­at­ing at the cer­e­mony was Rabbi Reuven Ham­mer, a lead­ing Ma­sorti fig­ure who served New Lon­don as in­terim min­is­ter for two years af­ter Rabbi Ja­cobs’s re­tire­ment. Rabbi Ham­mer trav­elled from Jerusalem to take part.

“You are to be con­grat­u­lated,” he told the con­gre­ga­tion, “be­cause in se­lect­ing Rabbi Gor­don, you have been for­tu­nate to find a leader who has intelligence, wit, en­ergy, elo­quence, k n o wl e d g e a n d un­der­stand­ing, and above all, a great de­sire to teach and to im­part the beauty and depth of Ju­daism and to make it rel­e­vant to ev­ery­one’s life”.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers con­trib­uted their mu­si­cal gifts to the oc­ca­sion, with new set­tings of verses from the Prophets from New Lon­don’s chazan Stephen Cot­sen and the com­poser Ju­lian Dawes.

In his re­marks, Rabbi Gor­don quoted from Rabbi Ja­cobs’s own in­duc­tion ad­dress at the New West End United Syn­a­gogue 54 years ago. “I hope that the Ju­daism I preach from this pul­pit will be a coura­geous Ju­daism. To the best of my abil­ity, I will see to it that no shal­low, spine­less Ju­daism, one de­mand­ing no chal­lenge and pre­sent­ing no sac­ri­fice, shall be preached here. But I hope that I shall also see to it that no harsh, un­sym­pa­thetic, in­hu­man in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ju­daism is voiced here, ei­ther.”

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