A popular Modern Orthodox rabbi who was recently appointed Army Chaplain has described his move back to Liverpool as a “homecoming”.
Rabbi Ariel Abel, 44, who has lived in Lancashire for five years and regularly writes for Jewish News, was speaking about his permanent move to back to Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation, where he was first appointed in 1999.
Abel, who is known to London’s Jewish population from his stints in the pulpit at Waltham Forest and Radlett, gained a first-class law degree two years ago with a view to becoming a British Dayan (Beth Din judge).
A trade unionist who also trained as a shochet (someone certified to kill cattle and poultry in a kosher manner), Abel holds some less-than-orthodox views, including his support for non-heterosexuals, and has spent time in Argentina and Uruguay.
He is the first ever non-Christian elected to the Executive of the Unite the Union’s Faith Workers’ branch, and works extensively with Sufi Muslims and refugees.
Since May 2017 he has held the rank of Captain in a part-time military ecumenical chaplaincy to Merseyside Army Cadet Force, and in March was installed as an Orthodox Jewish Military Chaplain in a service led by the Chief Rabbi at Bevis Marks Synagogue.
This week he said: “This is a homecoming for me. Many of my ancestors were born on Mill Road, Everton. Liverpool is the city where my wife and I have most friends. It is also the city where we feel safest, and at home.”
He said his work would include the provision of “kosher meals and hospitality for tourists, campus staff and students at the local universities and networking with the local communities to support welfare and faith related initiatives from within the Jewish community”.
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