St Al­bans fi­nally gets its man af­ter a 50-year wait

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY JAY GRENBY

ST AL­BANS United Syn­a­gogue is ready to wel­come its first rabbi and reb­bet­zin for more than 50 years, fol­low­ing mem­bers’ unan­i­mous ap­proval of the ap­point­ment of Rabbi Daniel Sturgess and his wife Alli.

The cou­ple will be ar­riv­ing over the next few weeks with their three young chil­dren with a view to tak­ing up their du­ties in mid-Au­gust. They have spent four years as codi­rec­tors of Aish Birm­ing­ham, where they ran an ed­u­ca­tional and so­cial branch for one of the largest and most re­li­giously di­verse Jewish stu­dent cam­puses in the UK.

Both are orig­i­nally from Es­sex. Rabbi Sturgess has a BSc in maths and Euro­pean stud­ies (Span­ish) from Ex­eter Univer­sity. His wife took a de­gree in psy­chol­ogy from the Univer­sity of Wales in Swansea. Mov­ing to Is­rael, they stud­ied at var­i­ous yeshivot and sem­i­nar­ies and are both grad­u­ates of the Ner LeElef out­reach train­ing progamme. Over the past 10 years, the rabbi has also cre­ated High Holy-Day ex­plana­tory ser­vices for the United Syn­a­gogue.

Karen Ap­pleby, who chairs the 170-strong con­gre­ga­tion, is con­fi­dent that the Sturgesses are em­i­nently qual­i­fied to steer the com­mu­nity into a bright fu­ture. “We be­lieve they re­ally are the best fit for us. Not only do they seem to have an un­der­stand­ing of the prob­lems faced by a small and widely di­ver­gent con­gre­ga­tion such as ours. They also have the enthusiasm and ideas to meet those chal­lenges and cre­ate a struc­ture which will help us grow in size, strength and in­flu­ence.”

Rabbi Sturgess said: “We are very ex­cited at the prospect of join­ing such a for­ward-look­ing com­mu­nity and have been overwhelmed by the warm and friendly wel­come we have re­ceived. St Al­bans is a grow­ing com­mu­nity with a com­mit­ted core. We look for­ward to help­ing to strengthen, en­gage and in­spire the ex­ist­ing mem­ber­ship.”

The shul hopes it will be a case of sec­ond time lucky. A Chilean-based rabbi selected last year de­cided to re­main in South Amer­ica.

Rabbi Daniel and Alli Sturgess and chil­dren

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.