Kingston Liberal Synagogue


Rabbi Dr Rene Pfertzel was born in Strasbourg, France, and spent his early years between Lorraine, Paris, and Alsace. He has been involved in several progressive Jewish communities in France, such as Strasbourg and Lyon, and was ordained at Leo Baeck College in 2014.

He is currently sharing his time between Keren Or, the Liberal community in Lyon, and Kingston Liberal Synagogue in London. He was assistant Rabbi at the Finchley Progressive Synagogue, visiting Rabbi at Wessex Liberal Synagogue in 2014/15 and assistant Rabbi at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue from 2015 to 2017. He joined Kingston Liberal Synagogue in August 2017.

His first degree was in History, particularly Ancient history, and he earned several MAs at the University of Strasbourg: Egyptology, Papyrology, and Biblical Studies. He defended a PhD on “The unofficial Tikkune Soferim (scribal corrections) in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible” at the University in Strasbourg. He also earned a MA in Jewish Studies at King’s College, London, in rabbinic texts. Rabbi Pfertzel is passionate about text studies. In 1991 he obtained the “Agrégation d’Histoire”, a high-status Teaching certificate allowing him to teach in High Schools as well as in Colleges. He ran a seminary on Jewish Anthropology at The Sorbonne in Paris for a year.

René has been involved in French Liberal congregations since the late 1980s, where he taught Access to Judaism classes, took services, exploring a large variety of creative ways of worship, and enjoyed the pastoral side of his mission. He is passionate about community building, and the new challenges Jewish communities are facing today.

Rene Pfertzel is also passionate about music. He holds a degree in vocal music from the “Conservatoire de Belfort”. He is a baritone.

He is father of two daughters born in 1989 and 1992, and lives with his partner Graeme in Walthamstow.