Hail to the "Chief"

As the Rebbitzen and I were putting the final touches to this edition of our Synagogue newsletter, we learned of the passing of Lord Immanuel Jakobovits zt'l, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth of Nations. Rabbi Jakobovits was an unusual individual - my Chief Rabbi for the years I served in the English Rabbinate.

It was Rabbi Jakobovits who presided over my Consecration Service when I became Senior Minister to the Whitefield Hebrew Congregation of Manchester. A tall, elegant man, his appearance and demeanor always bespoke the dignity and grace so essential to the successful practicing of the Rabbinate. His knowledge and vision changed the face of British Jewry forever.

Most of all - and I say this as one who served under him - his commitment to the profession of the Rabbinate, his wise counsel readily offered to each of us who held a pulpit, is indelibly etched upon my memory. His concern for the Rabbi, his willingness to "go to bat" for those Rabbis facing difficulties in their Congregations, was deeply appreciated by everyone.

The Chief Rabbi will always be remembered as a formidable figure in English life. Not merely Knighted by Her Majesty but, upon his retirement, made a member of the House of Lords, Rabbi Jakobovits' opinions on issues were sought and respected throughout the Realm.

I join those who mourn the passing of a true Jewish leader, one who was my confidant and support.

T'hei Nishmaso Tzrur B'tzrur HaChayim

Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz