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11 December 2014
The Jewish Chronicle

Finchley Progressive Synagogue has appointed its first assistant rabbi.

Rene Pfertzel joins Rabbi Rebecca Birk in a job share at the growing shul which now counts 330 households as members. “It’s quite a big step for the shul, and reflects the view that our congregation is set to grow further,” said Rabbi Pfertzel.

He hopes that some of that growth will come from currently unaffiliated Jews, particularly those who live in central London. “I am doing a lot of outreach work and putting on adult education courses in the shul.”

The French-born rabbi also hopes to track down French Jews who have made London their home. “I don’t know where they all reside, but I intend to find out.”

Not that his work with French Jews will be limited to these shores. His FPS post is a job share and he spends 75 per cent of his working week in Lyon where he is also a minister. “It is quite tiring being a travelling rabbi, but rewarding to build bridges between the countries’ Jewish communities – particularly in view of the current challenges French Jews face.”
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