Lawrence of Kinloss

December 31, 2013 by Henry Benjamin
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One of Australia’s most senior rabbis is expected to become the spiritual leader of London’s Kinloss Synagogue whose former religious head was Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis who is now the   Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.

Former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks with Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence [centre]   Photo: Henry Benjamin

Former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks with Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence [centre]                Photo: Henry Benjamin

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence currently rabbi at Sydney’s The Great Synagogue will visit Kinloss Synagogue next month in the north London suburb of Finchley, home to a large Jewish community where the congregation is expected to ratify the nomination of Rabbi Lawrence as Rabbi Mirvis’s replacement by the synagogue’s board.

Rabbi Lawrence told J-Wire he was “honored to be filling the shoes of the man chosen to be Chief Rabbi”.

London Jewish media has reported that the selection committee at Kinloss had unanimously recommended Rabbi Lawrence for the position.

The paper reports synagogue chairman Jon Mendelsohn as saying in a letter to members :” Our community needs a senior rabbi who had the capability to talk to, to lead and be part of our community,chairman. One bursting with ability who can chart the next journey ahead. Your selection committee has found someone who can do this and I ask you to support the appointment if Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence as our senior rabbi.”

The selection process took more than nine months and the paper reports there had been “a large number of candidates”.

Rabbi Lawrence told J-Wire that the Kinloss community is a vibrant  and engaged one with its own education facility and he was looking forward to the new challenge.

The Oxford-educated lawyer was spiritual leader of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation before moving to Sydney.

Rabbi Israel Porush

Rabbi Israel Porush 

At Kinloss, there will be a permanent reminder of his time in Sydney. Hanging on the wall is an image of the late Rabbi Israel Porush. Rabbi Porush left Berlin in 1933 when Hitler came to power making his way to London. Between 1934 and 1940 he served Kinloss as its rabbi before moving to Sydney where he took up the role of spiritual leader of…The Great Synagogue. He remained with the congregation until 1972 when he retired. He passed away in 1991.

The Great’s President, Michael Gold told J-Wire: “Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence is expected to be appointed to occupy the London Kinloss Synagogue pulpit.  The position is vacant as a consequence of the appointment of the new Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth.  Rabbi Lawrence will not only be a loss to The Great Synagogue, but also to the wider Jewish community, where his involvement with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry has been crucial to their operation by providing halachic and general tactical advice.”

He added that “the Board of The Great Synagogue and the Synagogue’s congregants have appreciated all of the good work that Rabbi and Mandy Lawrence have been doing for us over the past nine years.  We congratulate the Rabbi on his selection and wish him much success in the future.

Mr Gold has assured his congregation that “if there were to be a move by the Rabbi, it will not occur immediately and he has expressed his enthusiasm to continue his service to The Great and its members during that period.”
“Once the appointment is confirmed, we will be searching the world for a suitable replacement, who, we expect, will continue the traditional role of The Great Synagogue in the Sydney community. The Great was already in the process of searching for other ministerial staff to augment its service to members.”




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