Finchley United Synagogue announces the appointment of new Senior Rabbinic Couple

Finchley United Synagogue are delighted to announce that Rabbi Dr Yoni Birnbaum and Rebbetzen Elisheva Birnbaum have been appointed the Senior Rabbinic Couple at Finchley United Synagogue (Kinloss) after being overwhelmingly elected by the membership on Sunday.

Rabbi and Rebbetzen Birnbaum began their Rabbinical journey at Hadley Wood Jewish Community in 2010 where their tremendous dedication to growing the community culminated in the need for a new shul building and community centre. From there they moved to Kehillas Toras Chaim in Hendon in 2020 where they are currently the serving Rabbinic Couple. Rabbi Birnbaum also serves as Director of Marriage Authorisation at the Office of the Chief Rabbi and Director of the Conversion Department of the London Beth Din. Rebbetzen Birnbaum is a passionate and talented Occupational Therapist, specialising in children with additional needs and will continue who professional work alongside supporting the Kinloss community where she will focus on pastoral care and chesed and the Kinloss children and youth as well as supporting and building women’s initiatives.

Rabbi Dr Yoni Birnbaum grew up in Kingsbury and attended Hasmonean High School. He spent over ten years studying at Yeshivot in this country and Israel, gaining the prestigious Semicha of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He also holds a Law degree as well as an MA and PhD in Jewish Studies. His doctoral thesis focuses on inclusivism as a factor in halachic decision making. He was the 2018 Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at Harvard University, has published two books and is a frequent contributor to local and national media. He is also an experienced educator with March of the Living UK and sits on the Interfaith Advisory Board for Holocaust Memorial Day UK.

Rebbetzen Elisheva Birnbaum BSc (Hons) MAR grew up in Golders Green. She studied at Hasmonean High School, followed by the Hadar Beth Jacob Seminary in Jerusalem. She completed a BSc in Occupational Therapy at Brunel University, followed by a postgraduate diploma in Sensory Integration and is a Senior Paediatric Occupational Therapist in private practice. After her marriage to Rabbi Birnbaum, she completed an intensive three year Rebbetzen training programme at Ner L’Elef in Jerusalem and subsequently completed the Susi Bradfield Leadership training programme at LSJS.

The Birnbaums have six children, Nechama (19), Shimi (17), Tobi (14), Sara (12), Ayala (8) and Libby (3). Rabbi and Rebbetzen are expected to begin their roles in September 2024.

Rabbi and Rebbetzen Birnbaum said: “We are deeply honoured and delighted to have been elected as Senior Rabbi & Rebbetzen of Finchley United Synagogue, a community renowned for its sense of purpose and immense potential. While we are of course sad to leave the wonderful Toras Chaim community, which will always have a special place in our hearts, we look forward to this new opportunity with enthusiasm and great anticipation. With Hashem’s help, we look forward to partnering with the Kinloss community in building an outstanding powerhouse of community life, filled with warmth, meaningful Torah values and above all a place every member can call home.”

Darren Lewis and Jeremy Mindell, co-Chairs of Finchley United Synagogue, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Rabbi and Rebbetzen Birnbaum to Kinloss. Their wealth of experience and dedication positions them ideally to guide our community into a flourishing future. Together, we look forward to embarking on a transformative journey marked by inspiration, education, and communal development.”

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