First rabbi for more than half a century inducted at St Albans United Synagogue

History was made at St Albans United Synagogue: The photo shows, from left: Karen Appleby, chairman

History was made at St Albans United Synagogue: The photo shows, from left: Karen Appleby, chairman of St Albans United Synagogue; the Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Salih Gaygusuz; St Albans MP Anne Main, and newly-inducted minister of St Albans United Synagogue, Rabbi Daniel Sturgess - Credit: Photo supplied

The city’s oldest Jewish community has witnessed the formal induction of its first rabbi in more than 50 years.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis visited St Albans United Synagogue last Sunday (1) to perform the induction of Rabbi Daniel Sturgess - who was appointed to the joint post of rabbinical couple with his wife Alli over a year ago.

Until now, the synagogue has been using volunteer lay readers to lead services for the past five decades.

About 150 people attended the ceremony, including the Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Salih Gaygusuz, St Albans MP Anne Main, Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, and friends, family and colleagues of the couple.

In his induction address, the Chief Rabbi spoke of the pair as being a “match made in heaven”.

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Responding, Rabbi Sturgess recalled making a Freudian slip when he told a colleague that he was shortly to be formally ‘abducted’.

He joked: “It actually feels a bit like that – that I’ve been whisked away from normality and placed in this privileged position.”

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Rabbi Sturgess referred to the considerable amount of interfaith work going on in St Albans; evidence of which was the number of faith leaders present at the ceremony.

He said: “We are part of the St Albans community, of the British community - if we see someone in distress, in need, it is our responsibility to reach out and help them.”

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