Rabbi Shmuely Boteach 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A British lawmaker has come out in support of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach as the next
chief rabbi of the Commonwealth.
Louise Mensch, a Conservative Party MP
from the East Midlands, on Friday said the author and Jerusalem Post columnist
would be a good match to fill the position when Rabbi Jonathan Sacks steps down
The New Jersey native would be a good pick because of his
uncompromising attitude towards anti-Semitism, the parliamentarian wrote in a
“[Boteach] would be a strong challenge to the virulent bias
against Israel, and the at times anti-Semitic minimizing of Jewish suffering
from terror attacks, that is perhaps the strongest challenge to the UK’s Jewish
community today,” she wrote. “His passion for the faith is both manifest and
contagious, and whoever is chosen as chief rabbi, I cannot help but feel that
Rabbi Boteach’s candidacy would add immensely to a vibrant debate within the UK
as to the challenges and opportunities faced by British Judaism.”
first met Boteach years ago when she became the first non-Jew to join L’Chaim, a
student society set up by the rabbi at Oxford University, where he was a Chabad
emissary. While Mensch is not Jewish (she is married to Jewish music agent Peter
Mensch) she said her time at university and friendship with Boteach left her
with a love of the religion and its culture.
Several other candidates to
replace Sacks have been mentioned over the past few weeks including Rabbi Warren
Goldstein, chief rabbi of South Africa and a Post columnist; Rabbi and former
social and Diaspora affairs minister Michael Melchior of Israel; and Rabbis
Ephraim Mirvis and Harvey Belovski of London.
Last week, Israeli-British
illusionist Uri Geller sent a letter to the Post in which he came out in support
of his friend Boteach.
Simon Rocker of the Jewish Chronicle
Geller’s endorsement by writing that “the [Orthodox] United Synagogue, I feel,
would rather pick Baroness Neuberger [president of the Liberal Judaism movement]
as chief than bring back Shmuley.”