UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is set to step down from his position next
September but the race to find a successor is already heating
Israeli-British magician Uri Geller sent a letter to The Jerusalem
Post on Tuesday in which he came out in support of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach to fill
Geller said British Jewry had come under “sustained attack”
from the media, politicians and the “self-destructive fashion for atheism” in
recent decades. It needed a religious leader who would not shy away from
controversy while at the same time be able to harmonize different Jewish
“There is, quite simply, only one man with the
qualifications for the job,” he wrote.
“That man is Rabbi Shmuley
Boteach. I am proud to call him my friend, and I'd be prouder still to see him
at the helm of the Jewish faith in Britain.”
Geller became famous for
bending spoons and stopping clocks on television in the 1970s. Boteach, who is a
popular author that also writes a column for the Post, began his career at
Oxford University where he spent more than a decade setting up a Jewish student
organization. The two men were both friends of the late singer Michael
Several other possible replacements for Sacks have been named,
though there is no clear front-runner.
Boteach was not available for
comment by press time.
This week, Rabbi Michael Melchior, a former
Israeli minister of social and Diaspora affairs and the chief rabbi of Norway,
said he was flattered by rumors that he might be offered the job but that it was
not currently on his agenda.