Rabbi Meir Soloveichik Being Courted For Post Of British Chief Rabbi


rabbi-meir-soloveichikA young rabbi in America is being head-hunted for the post of British chief rabbi, The Times of Israel is reporting.

Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik is director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and associate rabbi at Manhattan’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. He is also the great-nephew of Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveichik, the leader of American Modern Orthodoxy until his death in 1993.

“He is expected in London within a few days,” said a source close to the selection process. “My sense is that’s who they want.”

Another source, a senior British community leader, said that Rabbi Soloveichik had the behind-the-scenes backing of the current chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks.

“He’s pushing Rabbi Soloveichik in a discreet way… He is becoming more engaged in the process,” he said.

The source – who, like everyone observing the process closely, requested not be named – said that Rabbi Sacks was concerned about finding a candidate who would have a national profile, like his own, and believed that Rabbi Soloveichik was, in many ways, a man in his own image.

“Rabbi Sacks and his advisors realize that there is a legacy issue here, and he doesn’t want to preside over an office that is then downgraded,” the source said. “There may be some timing issues with Rabbi Soloveichik but Rabbi Sacks is pushing that if they can get [Rabbi Soloveichik], they should wait for him. When Rabbi Sacks was appointed, he then spent a year learning in Israel. So it would not be unprecedented.”

However, sources close to the chief rabbi strenuously denied that he was backing any candidate, while another source with knowledge of the selection process said that “the chief rabbi has kept resolutely out of it. He’s been incredibly sensible and aloof; he’s kept right out of it.”

Rabbi Sacks is due to step down in September 2013. There have been very few leaks about the search for his replacement, which is currently nearing the end of the first round of interviews.

The main two candidates are widely assumed to be Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the rabbi of Finchley United Synagogue, one of the flagship Modern Orthodox congregations in North London, and a former chief rabbi of Ireland; and Rabbi Harvey Belovski, rabbi of Golders Green United Synagogue, another shul in the heart of Jewish London. Foreign candidates are rumored to include Michael Broyde, a professor of law at Emory University in Atlanta; Daniel Beller, a British rabbi who made aliya 15 years ago to Ra’anana, where he heads the Shivtei Yisrael congregation; and Jonathan Rosenblatt of the Riverdale Jewish Center in New York.

Rabbi Soloveichik, who is in his mid 30s, is known for his extraordinary intellect – some say it rivals that of Rabbi Sacks – and for his charisma as a public speaker.

Rabbi Soloveichik is also a well-known Anglophile, who regularly lectures on the Jewish aspects of the divorce of King Henry VIII from Catherine of Aragon in the 16th century.

The Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University, which he heads, sees its mission as cultivating “the Orthodox intellectual and civic leaders of the future.” According to the Center’s website, students are given both a deep Jewish education and philosophical training, and are “guided in learning the art of expressing ideas to the wider society, allowing them to serve mankind by bringing genuinely Jewish ideas to the world.”

“If they’re looking for a [Sacks-like] model, Meir Soloveichik is the right guy,” said the source close to the selection process. However, this same source warned that the community could not afford to neglect its internal affairs.

{Read full report at TIMES OF ISRAEL}

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I don’t know Rabbi Soloveitchik personally but I have heard him speak and give shiurim. A very bright man and a big talmid chochom.

    I wish him hatzlacha.

  2. R’ Meir Soloveichik is a direct descendant of R’ Moshe Soloveichik, the older brother of ‘The Brisker Rav’ and oldest son of Reb Chaim Brisker

    R’ Moshe Soloveichik had a son R’ Ahron and R’Meir is his grandson

  3. “Yichus Police” asks: How is he related to the Brisker Rav?

    Rav Meir Soloveichik (for whom I babysat, and whose father was my rebbe) is the son of Rav Eliyahu Soloveichik and grandson of Rav Aaron Soloveichik. The Rav (Yosef Dov of YU) was Rav Aaron’s brother. The Rav and Rav Aaron’s father was Rav Moshe Soloveichik, brother of the Brisker Rav, Rav Yitzchak Zev, aka Reb Velvele. So, the Brisker Rav was young Rav Meir Soloveichik’s great, great uncle (his grandfather’s uncle).