Who determines the Chief Rabbi of England?

  • Is he picked by a general vote of all Shul attendees in Great Brittan?
  • Is he picked by a committee picked by boards of different Shuls?

What are his powers?

Does he have a monopoly on Kashrus/Weddings/Divorces (Like in Israel)?

  • I picked current events since the elections of the Chief Rabbi of GB is coming up :) Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


This article explains how the chief Rabbi is chosen and what are his powers.

Broadly speaking, the job combines two different roles. One is ambassador of Judaism to the outside world; the other is "rabbi of rabbis", the senior rabbi of the United Synagogue and other central Orthodox communities. While the roles are not mutually exclusive, the question is which will be given greater emphasis.

In theory, constitutionally, the chief rabbi is the supreme authority of the United Synagogue, and the Beth Din is there to advise him. In practice, it is the Beth Din that has been seen increasingly to call the religious shots, and the current Chief Rabbi has been accused of yielding too much ground to it.

His preference was to appoint a small working group of around seven people who would draw up a shortlist and interview the candidates. Their recommendation would be then submitted for approval to a larger representative group of around 30, made up of delegates from various constituencies under the aegis of the chief rabbi, but also possibly from outside. Mr Pack proposes to chair both groups himself.

When Lord Sacks was appointed, the decision was taken by a body known as the Chief Rabbinate Council, composed of around 200 members although a smaller selection committee of 35 was set up to recommend a name.

The council was superseded in 2002 by the much smaller Chief Rabbinate Trust, comprising three United Synagogue officers, three other trustees nominated by the United Synagogue and three trustees representing regional and other communities.

  • 1
    I believe the previous chief rabbi, Lord Jacobovits, described the difference between his position and the Israeli chief rabbinate as: "My job has influence but no power; his has power but no influence."
    – Shalom
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 0:10

You can find details of the process here: http://www.chiefrabbi.org/CR_Application.aspx.


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