(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
The United Synagogue of the UK has denied that any offer was made to Ashkenazi
Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger to fill the position of UK chief rabbi, which will open
up when Rabbi Jonathan Sacks steps down next year.
It was reported
earlier this week by Israel HaYom that Metzger had been offered the post by a
senior member of the Anglo-Jewish community.
“I am taken aback by the
suggestion that there has been any kind of ‘offer’ made to anybody in this
regard,” said Stephen Pack, president of the United Synagogue, in a statement
issued by his office on Tuesday.
“An enormous amount of effort has gone
into creating a process that is designed to transparently produce the best
possible range of candidates for this world-leading role, and nobody involved in
this process has, or could ever, make such an offer,” Pack
Metzger’s office claimed earlier that that an offer had been
made, but said that since Metzger has another year-and-a-half remaining as chief
rabbi in Israel, he was not entertaining any offers for future employment at the
A spokesman for Metzger said that the offer was made by an
influential member of the Anglo-Jewish community with “close ties to the royal
The claim was widely derided by several community insiders in
The process to appoint the new chief rabbi is somewhat
complicated and involves three bodies set up by the United Synagogue: a working
group to review applications and interview candidates; a consulting group to
review and approve the selected candidate; and a representative group of the
Chief Rabbi’s Council including numerous community leaders, which will have
general oversight over the entire process.
It was stressed by a leading
community representative that no one with any authority could ever have made an
offer to any rabbi on behalf of the United Synagogue.