UK MP supports Boteach as next UK chief rabbi

Louise Mensch, a Conservative Party MP says the 'Jerusalem Post' columnist would be a good match for the job.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
January 14, 2012 22:55
1 minute read.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Rabbi Shmuely Boteach 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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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 in September.

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The New Jersey native would be a good pick because of his uncompromising attitude towards anti-Semitism, the parliamentarian wrote in a letter.

“[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.”

Mensch 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 responded to 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.”

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