‘Arse­nal rabbi’ kicks-off new High­gate era

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community Life - BY JAY GRENBY

BARELY A few weeks into his first com­mu­nal rabbi’s job at High­gate Syn­a­gogue, Nicky Liss has shown his met­tle by in­tro­duc­ing a bun­dle of ini­tia­tives to usher in “a new era in one of Lon­don’s fastest-grow­ing shuls”.

Rab­biLiss,hiswifeShu­liandtheir­four chil­dren — three girls and a boy aged be­tween 20 months and eight years — ar­rived in High­gate in mid-Au­gust to re­place Rabbi Yitz­chok Sufrin, who served the com­mu­nity for 15 years.

For the past nine years, the rabbi has been liv­ing and study­ing in Is­rael, where his most re­cent post was as ha­lachic au­thor­ity and pas­toral coun­sel­lor to the Yeshi­vat Midrash Sh­muel com­mu­nity in Jerusalem. But he was born and brought up in Finch­ley — “I’m a Kin­loss boy through and through”.

He was deputy head boy and foot­ball cap­tain at Has­monean and has been closely in­volved with Bnei Akiva, Seed and the Jewish Learn­ing Ex­change. A keen Arse­nal sup­porter, he proudly re­calls the day he was a mas­cot.

Al­though the High­gate post is nom­i­nally part-time, Rabbi Liss has also taken on the head­ship of the com­mu­nity’s cheder, a task made eas­ier by the fam­ily’s oc­cu­pa­tion of the cot­tage ad­join­ing the shul, tucked away down a lane in the heart of High­gate Vil­lage.

With its 350 mem­ber fam­i­lies, it draws on a large catch­ment area — in ad­di­tion to those liv­ing in the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity, it at­tracts worshippers from neigh­bour­ing Hamp­stead Gar­den Sub­urb and Muswell Hill who pre­fer its in­ti­mate at­mos­phere to the big­ger shuls in their own lo­cal­ity.

High­gate chair Nigel Lith­man said the rabbi and his wife “will spear­head youth ac­tiv­ity, wel­fare for the aged and adult ed­u­ca­tion. Th­ese are ex­cit­ing times for the shul.”

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