Dec 16, 2010
Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet?

Who will succeed Britain's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks who will be retiring in September 2013? The Jewish Chronicle mentioned Chabad Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet as a leading candidate.

The Jewish Chronicle

United Synagogue president Simon Hochhauser's announcement this week that the Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, would be retiring after his 65th birthday in September 2013, has set off fevered speculation across the rabbinical world as to who may succeed him.

But there is a long way to go before then: not until July 2011, when Mr Hochhauser himself will be retiring, will an announcement be made as to how a chief rabbi will be chosen for the 21st century.

Mr Hochhauser will lead a wide consultation process until then, primarily within the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth but also outside: he says that the US "will be delighted to hear from other denominations," and may even hear submissions from outside the Jewish community itself.

We look at some of the prospective successors, with commentator Miriam Shaviv.

The leading candidates:

● Rabbi Shaul Robinson: Senior rabbi at Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan since 2005, Glasgow-born Rabbi Robinson was national secretary of UJS and later became the first rabbi for students at Cambridge. His last UK post was at Barnet. "Landing a major New York pulpit was a coup for Rabbi Robinson, instantly catapulting him into the ranks of rabbinic heavy-hitters. Many regard him as the strongest of the candidates. But with his New York shul currently building a new $40 million campus, can he be tempted back from the diaspora's most exciting Jewish city?"

● Rabbi Harvey Belovski: An Oxford maths graduate, Rabbi Belovski also studied at Gateshead Yeshivah and has been rabbi at Golders Green Synagogue since 2003. He is the rabbinic mentor for University Jewish Chaplaincy and is a fellow at the London School of Jewish Studies. "Rabbi Belovski is comfortable with both modern and Orthodox. Popular with the other rabbis, he could be a uniting figure for the community. But some have speculated he may be heading for the Beth Din instead."

● Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet: At Mill Hill Synagogue in north west London for the past 17 years, Canadian-born Rabbi Schochet previously served at Richmond Synagogue. "A seasoned media performer, Rabbi Schochet could continue Lord Sacks's ambassadorship to the outside world. His recent indication that he may attend Limmud may be read as an attempt to soften his right-wing image. Some, however, may judge his outspokenness too risky."

● Rabbi Naftali Brawer: Boston-born rabbi of Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue. He moved to Britain in 1996 to serve at Northwood Synagogue. He holds the Jewish-Muslim portfolio in the Chief Rabbi's cabinet. "One of the US's brightest minds, he has shown courage challenging the rabbinic establishment on moral and religious issues such as conversion. A champion of Jewish learning and interfaith relations, he is possibly too left-wing for the other rabbis."

● Dayan Ivan Binstock: With a degree in chemistry, the dynamic orator has served at a number of London communities, including Golders Green Synagogue and St John's Wood Synagogue, where he has been rabbi since 1996. He is also principal of North West London Jewish Day School. "Do not underestimate the most modern of the dayanim, highly respected by his peers on the Beth Din and with wide experience in the community. Just a few years younger than Lord Sacks, he would be a safe pair of hands if the US needed more time to find its way."

The longer-shots:

● Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag: Newcastle-born rabbi of Whitefield Hebrew Congregation, in north Manchester, he has a BA in Jewish studies from Jews' College. Joint president of the Manchester Council of Christians and Jews, he is convenor of the National Association of Orthodox Schools. "A successful communal rabbi, he is intelligent and sophisticated, and active in the educational arena. However, any chief rabbinical ambitions may be stymied by his low profile in London and among the rabbinate."

● Rabbi Warren Goldstein: At 37, the youngest ever Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Rabbi Goldstein, a trained lawyer, has held the post in his home country since 2005. He is a regular contributor in the South African media and has his own website complete with podcasts and video blogs. "Young and charismatic, you will know he is interested in the job if he books a UK speaking tour soon."

● Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence: Chief minister at Sydney's Great Synagogue in Australia, Rabbi Lawrence was the research assistant to Lord Sacks for his 1990 Reith Lectures. He was executive director of the Association of Jewish Sixth-Formers and later deputy head of Jewish studies at Carmel College. His interests include the environment and Gilbert and Sullivan. "The Oxford-educated British expat may seem like a natural candidate, but much depends on his performance in Hampstead Garden Suburb last Shabbat - a rare opportunity for him to make a local impression."

● Rabbi Benny Lau: Rabbi of the Ramban Synagogue in Jerusalem and director of the Centre for Judaism and Society, he lectures at Bar-Ilan University where he himself studied.The nephew of former Israeli Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, he previously worked in Britain as a Bnei Akiva shaliach and is regarded as a charismatic community leader and social activist. "Securing one of Israel's up-and-coming national-religious leaders, with that evocative surname, would be a triumph for the US. But an Israeli rabbi may experience severe culture shock in the British system."

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Opinions and Comments
i think the chief rabbi has at least another 10 good years in him. he is am amazing representitive of the jewish people to the britsh government and beyond
(12/16/2010 3:52:06 PM)
Is Naftali Brower not a chabadnik?
(12/16/2010 3:58:39 PM)
Naftali Brawer is a Lubavitcher
(12/16/2010 4:00:50 PM)
Ex chabadnik
Rabbi Dr. Naftali Brawer is no longer Chabad. He removed his Kapota and beard around 10 years ago and doesn't give any outside indication of ever being Chabad. Of course no one can know whats going on B'Pnimuus.
I would consider Rabbi Shmuly Boteach as a Chabadnik before i would Rabbi Brawer, and i am sure they would both agree.
Its a pity because Rabbi Brawer is a smart guy.
(12/16/2010 4:27:37 PM)
since im lubavitch ill be biased and say RABBI SCHOCHET however eve from an outside prspective i would say the ame becuase this rabbio is very uniqe and clever so who knows?
(12/16/2010 4:32:26 PM)
My dear Rabbi Schochat, i am one of your biggest fans, but you know better then most that the United Synagogue will never, ever appoint a Chabadnik as Chief Rabbi.
Lately a lot of US shuls looking for new Rabbis deliberately avoid hiring Chabad Rabbis.
The closest we have ever come is the current Chief, Rabbi Sacks who is a fan and friend of Chabad.
(12/16/2010 4:34:06 PM)
Has my vote
I don't know any of the candidates. But I watched Y. Schochet in the webcast with Alan Dershowitz.

It's impressive and speaks the language that we need to hear today. But I don't imagine they would ever take a Chabadnik which is why Brauer has a better chance.

(12/16/2010 4:51:22 PM)
It's not a secret. He officially disclaimed his formal Chabad affiliation. No more kapoteh or beard. He calls himself modern orthodox.
(12/16/2010 5:19:55 PM)
Shochat as Chief
Is there somewhere I can read stuff of his?
(12/16/2010 5:20:21 PM)
he is a graduate of tomchei temimim of Montreal and went through the whole system including shlichus and 770
(12/16/2010 6:03:45 PM)
Shocked by Brower
I knew him well in Morristown this article got me to google him and this is what i found :
(12/16/2010 6:16:27 PM)
Did anyone see this?
Watch it and you'll understand why Rabbi Shochet should be Chief Rabbi.
(12/16/2010 6:17:14 PM)
I Think Rabbi Shochat will be too old to be chief rabbi
(12/16/2010 6:20:51 PM)
rabbi schochet
he has what ti takes in all areas and comes from a great family as well
(12/16/2010 6:31:53 PM)
wishful thinking
the unfortunate reality is it will never happen...a few years back in south africa rabbis goldman and chazdan two prominent and leading canidates across the board did not win. there were many people who sa to it that a chabad rabbi should not win...
(12/16/2010 6:35:55 PM)
Rabbi schochet
Im youre number one fan and you know it
(12/16/2010 7:14:54 PM)
Why is the Chief retiring?
He is one of the greatest Jewish leaders today, I adore the man.

having said that, Rabbi Shuchat would make a great replacement.
(12/16/2010 7:30:27 PM)
continue ur shlichus in mill hill, where u r doing an amazing job
(12/16/2010 7:41:51 PM)
Good Rabbi.... but NO Chief Rabbi material
Rabbi Schochet is a good Rabbi, but he has made numerous controversial statements, including a preposterous call for a worlwide ban on conversions k'hallacha.

(12/16/2010 7:45:47 PM)
Age of all
I am guessing that Shochet and Brawer are about the same age. Early forties. Same age as Sacks was when he became Chief Rabbi.
(12/16/2010 7:49:03 PM)
I agree with 15
Unfortunately Chabad never has a chance. It is very impressive that a Chabad rabbi would even make it into the mentions. I don't know if that has ever happened before in the UK. And he's the chairman of the Rabbis just as Goldman was in S. Africa. If he wasn't Chabad he would probably walk the job. He is very articulate, intelligent, and has a great public persona. But Chabad is his stumbling block. Of course shlichus is priority. and if its meant to me it'll be!
(12/16/2010 7:53:08 PM)
in Lubavitch interest?
Is it in Lubavitch interest to have a Chabad Chief Rabbi in the UK? If so we have a large enough network around Europe and the world to really put it out there, everywhere. A strong campaign is what he needs and we can do it. But does Y. Schochet want it? There's no comment from him.
(12/16/2010 7:56:38 PM)
He was the night activity director in CGI Montreal the first summer I ever went to overnight camp 1988. I have few specific memories, but I do remember loving night activity.

When i was a Bochur in Morristown in 5756 I went to his chabad house on Sundays to learn with Baalei Batim for a morning power breakfast (which we called Power Brawer, AKA poyer for those who slept in 407).
(12/16/2010 7:59:46 PM)
to Number 9
Google him. Loads of stuff from him. Also I went to He does a weekly column in a paper and it is also on line and that took me to his personal website
(12/16/2010 8:08:33 PM)
Great family is right
Those schochets are something else. I think they have the monopoly on brains and talent. Not only yitzchoks fathers siblings but his cousins male and female are leaders in lubavich today. What an inspiation they are.
(12/16/2010 8:25:11 PM)
I would absolutely vote for him, if I was able. Years back, when I was in Yeshivah in London, I read his weekly article in the Jewish newspaper. His wisdom was exceptionally attractive, so I may it my priority that before the year's end, I would meet with him.

After my time in London, I continued to follow his career. I read his newspaper articles online, watched his TV appearances, and listened to his shiurm on,, and

If you would like a sample of the rabbi's work, go ahead google him. You will be impressed as I was. Naturally there's a genetic component to his success (I'm teasing Rabbi). His hard work made him the success he is.

This talk about him being the next chief rabbi isn't new. It has been going on for years. He has a huge following in London that wants to see it happen as well.

I am in full agreement that he is the most appropriate candidate.
(12/16/2010 8:28:47 PM)
It's not only about being a Lubavitcher. The Chief Rabbi needs to be intelligent and diplomatic. A Rabbi who has his foot in his mouth more often than not, or more ego than brains, will not make a good Chief Rabbi and will just end up being a chillul Lubavitch. So, lets look at real qualifications rather than just affiliations! May Hashem lead the right person into the position.
(12/16/2010 8:31:20 PM)
Schochet: A Royal Family
They come from a long line of Rabbonim.

The grandfather HRH"G Dov Yehuda Schochet zt"l was Chief Rabbi of The Hague and the adjacent regional towns in Holland. He instituted giving out a "K'sav Chaver" which some cherish more than a smicha.

Cetainly the Schochet's have royalty in their genes and their DNA is wired for such a position.

It seems that this entire family is composed from geniuses, lecturers, authors and leaders of the pack. All are high profile over-achievers with over inflated I.Q.'s.

I suspect their gifted abilities are genetic.
(12/16/2010 10:00:43 PM)
So true
All the schochets I know are superior in every way. They teach, write, speak and accomplish far more and far better then any regular person can. When I recently mentioned this to yitzchoks cousin she laughed and said yes we test our babies at birth and if they don't score high enough intelligence wise we leave them at the hospital. This way we keep our gene pool pure!! Maybe she was serious?
(12/17/2010 12:30:35 AM)
Number 28 / 29
28 you must be a fan. Probably from UK and from Chabad. There are lots who are jelous of him.
29 you must be a Shochet to write that as you did.
(12/17/2010 1:14:46 AM)
twenty five
thank for the link. I agree it is a beautiful way to give over a thought from the Rebbe. Do you always have to give it over i the Rebbe's name? Sometimes if that can work against you ie you are not in a Chabad House and people would resent you quoting the Rebbe each week then at least you could put the message across. HAfotzas Hamayonus = spreading chassidus. Not always in the name of. Or as the Rebbe would say zog es yeh in mine nomen zog es nisht in mine nomen as long as the message gets across.
(12/17/2010 1:20:49 AM)
Laughed out loud
at comment from number 30. I doubt it's true but it is a classic Schochat comment to make. I am a member of UK CHabad (not London) and would love nothing more than to see Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet as Chief Rabbi. Would the United Synagogue ever even consider it? I wonder.
(12/17/2010 3:33:55 AM)
Shochet and conversion
It was an interesting article. It was very controversial. It got everyone talking. Some were with him, some were against him. His target was the crazy infighting over conversion and if no one is going to recognize anyone else then why bother.

As a Rabbi he could get away with a suggestion like that. I like a man who isn't scared to speak his mind and take a stand on positions to do with yiddishkeit. I agree that one may have been a little off center but it is a rare one. Most of his comments, articles, interviews are in defence of yiddishkeit. I don't see any other rabbi going out on a limb like that. That was maybe even CR Sacks biggest weakness. Too wishy-washy. All hail Chief Rabbi Shochet!
(12/17/2010 3:38:05 AM)
As good as Yitschok is, he wont be the chief Rabbi.First because hes a lubavitcher but also there are things about his personality that disqualify him from getting the job.
As for Naftoli Brawer, he is still a Tomim whether he wants it or not.
In any case noone will be like chief Rabbi SAcks who actually might be the next guest speaker at Kinus.
(12/17/2010 3:39:06 AM)
very little background given on their yeshiva experience.
(12/17/2010 4:31:23 AM)
Schochet cousins
These include wagners, steinmetz, Newman males and weisberg, farkash, lisker, wilhelm, silberstein females etc etc just to name a few on the lubavich landscape
(12/17/2010 8:43:07 AM)
#29 ?
#29 defiantly a Schochet and Schochet ONLY can write that!...
(12/17/2010 10:24:41 AM)
36 check
what ddo you know about his personality? unless you're married to him you know nothing about him. but you could ask his 1000+ who are inspired by him. Like every Shochat maybe he's a little arrogant but he's also a nice guy. Maybe you're one f the jealous ones. probably.
(12/18/2010 1:19:12 PM)
Laughed Our Loud 36
What are the personality qualifications for the job? For those who know Chief Rabbi Sacks he is brilliant. A great shliach for Klal Yisroel. But personality is NOT one of his strong points. They say he is not personable at all. If that is a qualification then you are right Yitzie Shochet is not the man for the job. When I met him in NY a year ago, he gave me so much time talking through a big issue I had. He didn't really know me apart from the yeshiva in London and he gave me time and good advice. I went back to yeshiva because of him.
(12/18/2010 2:21:22 PM)
How dare any of you be judge and jury about anyone? You sit there on asarah bitzeves and you write about these two people in negative ways. Let them both be well both become chief rabbis both cnotinue to do good for klal yisroel. just have ahavas yisroel that's all!!!
(12/18/2010 2:30:49 PM)
i live in crown heights but i would still love to see schochet win he would be great!!!
(12/18/2010 2:45:59 PM)
no for shochet
even though Shochet is a very clever guy i would for sure not like him to be the chief Rabbi of England his views on the REBBE and on Moshiach are very upsetting he has got to realise that the Rebbe is the leader of the generation and there is no one like the Rebbe or been as great as the Rebbe
(12/18/2010 3:23:33 PM)
1) Brains: He's a Shochet. He has that in abundance.
2) Charisma: He must have that. His bo says he built up a shul to more than 1400 members and the article says he is popular in media and television.
3) Leadership: He is the chairman of the Rabbinical Council in London.
4) The Rebbe's Bracha: CR Saks asked the Rebbe before he became Chief Rabbi. As a shliach of the Rebbe, Shochet would have that blessing as well.

I think all this makes him more qualified than many of the other Chabad "Chief Rabbis" we have out there at the moment.

Brocho veHatzlocho! Chief Rabbi Shochet!
(12/18/2010 8:17:01 PM)
Schochet and Moshiach to 44
What are his views on the Rebbe and Moshiach? He wrote a beautiful piece on YNet about the Rebbe as leader of the generation. You mean he doesn't get up in his shul and say the Rebbe is Moshiach? Is that necessary to be Chief Rabbi? Or are you one of the London Meshichistim?
(12/18/2010 8:20:12 PM)
Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence:
Believes he has what it takes for the job. Very articulate.
(12/18/2010 10:04:50 PM)
Britain's Next Chief Rabbi
First, I suggest you look further at some Israeli and American possibilities because those are the places where the most creative and dynamic tghinking is coming from.
Second, let Lubavitch do the work they do, but serious people would not consider them for major communal leadership positions as they are too far outside the mainstream, and it may be unfair to Rabbi Shochet to put this burden on him.
So Third, here is an American name for you to consider, Rabbi Barry Freundel of Washington DC, brilliant intellectual, talmid chacham, superb speaker and writer, clear thinker, outstanding with students and with older people, major figure with RCA and great contacts all over the Jewish world, invite him

from Joseph Berger
(12/19/2010 12:03:07 AM)
OK Mr Berger you are taking this conversation to a whole new level: What exactly do you mean that Lubavitch is too far outside the mainstream? What is the mainstream? Modern Orthodoxy? They cannot even define what they stand for. Secular Judaism? That's an oxymoron. Litvish? They're too busy fighting amongst their own for kovod and who gets the title of "next Godol HaDor."

Ironically each in their own way look to Lubavitch to siphon off what they believe to be the best bits. As I heard someone say recently, "the only reason I migrated away from Modern Orthodoxy and didn't even buy into my Litvishe friends is because Chabad is the only place I encountered real consistency in their teaching, preachings and actions.

That's mainstream Berger. Look yourself in the mirror and ask: "What do I represent? What do I stand for?" If the answer is Torah, which I am guessing in your case that is what you would say, then I ask you: "Yes, but whose interpretation? Your own subjective one? Soul search my lost friend and you will find real mainstream is not in your heart but in the hearts of others. Still, "the matter is not far from you...rather in your mouth and in your heart to do it."
(12/19/2010 4:24:36 AM)
chabad and mainstream
Yitzchok Schochet is a mainstream Rabbi and also very proud Chabad chosid and shliach. You can't get better than that. All hail Chief Rabbi Schochet. Long live the King.
(12/19/2010 8:05:46 AM)
schotet all the way
no qeustion cheief rabbi lord schochet
(12/19/2010 1:59:32 PM)
go go go
I was a counselor under him in 3 diferent day camps - Miami, Denver and Maryland. If he'd be as good a chief rabbi as he was a head counselor then he would be very good!
(12/19/2010 4:09:15 PM)
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