Rabbi Danny Rich is to quit as Chief Executive and Senior Rabbi of Liberal Judaism.
Tributes have been paid to the progressive Jewish leader, who is standing down from his roles in March, after 15 years at the helm.
Rabbi Rich said: “It has been my privilege and pleasure to have served the cause of Liberal Judaism all my working life, first for two decades as rabbi to Kingston Liberal Synagogue and for the last fifteen years as Liberal Judaism’s professional head.”
“As I move to pastures new, I shall continue to play a different role in promoting Liberal Jewish values and furthering the Jewish mission – to contribute to the creating of a decent and worthy society in which ‘a person may sit under the vine and the fig and no other person shall make them afraid’.”
Among some of his key achievements, Rabbi Rich oversaw the opening of new Liberal communities across the country, supported social justice campaigns in the movement including initiatives helping refugees and campaigned for equal marriage nationally.
He said: “I am pleased with what Liberal Judaism has become during the last fifteen years and what it has achieved during my tenure.
“I am particularly proud of the crucial role of Liberal Judaism, in partnership with Citizens UK and others, in making the United Kingdom a welcoming home for Syrian refugees, and of the Liberal Judaism leadership – with the Quakers and Congregationalists – to persuade Parliament to introduce equal marriage.”
His tenure and achievements will be celebrated at Liberal Judaism’s Biennial Weekend in May.
Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein, President of Liberal Judaism said rabbi Rich “helped ensure that Liberal Judaism has continued to be a creative, progressive, radical movement”, adding that it had been a “privileged to witness the respect that Rabbi Rich engendered in so many circles”.
“He has been a mentor to many rabbis and lay people and influenced bringing many of them to Liberal Judaism.”
Acting Chair of Liberal Judaism , Ruth Seager, paid tribute to Rabbi Rich saying the movement “has seeped into and perhaps drenched his DNA so that every cell in his body is a Liberal Jewish cell. “
Saying he “devoted his life to the service of our movement” over the last 15 years, Seager praised his “charismatic and inspirational” character, as well as his “commitment to his congregational work”.