Rabbi Rachel Benjamin

Rabbi Rachel Benjamin

The Liberal Jewish Synagogue has made two “outstanding” new appointments to its rabbinic team.

Rabbi Rachel Benjamin and Rabbi Rene Pfertzel will join the LJS, in St. John’s Wood, on a part-time basis.

They replace Rabbi Neil Janes, who leaves LJS at the end of the month to take up a new post as Director of the Lyons Institute for Jewish Learning at the West London Synagogue – which will see him combine congregational rabbinic duties with responsibility for the shul’s new centre for cross-communal learning.

Rabbi Janes’ replacements – whom he praised as “very fine rabbis” – are familiar faces from London’s progressive Jewish community and will work under the leadership of Senior Rabbi Alexandra Wright.

Rabbi Benjmain has been working on a temporary basis at the LJS, covering Rabbi Janes’ sabbatical, since January – and her new appointment will see her increase her time at the synagogue.

Rabbi Rene Pfertzel

Rabbi Rene Pfertzel

Rabbi Pfertzel, who said he was “delighted to become a permanent member of the LJS Rabbinical team”, has worked with Finchley Progressive Synagogue as well as in Lyon and at Wessex Liberal Jewish Community in Dorset.

He said: “I feel proud and honoured to be part of this long established community, and to work with two amazing colleagues”.

Paying tribute to her new appointments, Senior Rabbi Wright said: “I am delighted to be welcoming Rabbi Rachel Benjamin and Rabbi Pfertzel to work as part of our rabbinic, educational, musical and pastoral team at The LJS.

“They bring outstanding skills in teaching, working with people of all ages and spiritual leadership and I look forward to working with them for the good of a community that has so much to offer its members.”

The LJS will release more information about its new appointments in the coming months, as well as offering the congregation opportunities to meet Rabbis Benjamin and Pfertzel.