On 29 July Leo Baeck College ordained four student rabbis during a closed service at the LJS in St. John’s Wood. During non-covid times, a congregation of 500 or more guests from across the world attend such a celebration and no explanation is needed as to why that has been impossible this year. Despite this year’s restrictions ordination is very much a momentous milestone.

Each year Leo Baeck College inducts a cohort of students on to its five year Rabbinic postgraduate programme.   The admission process is rigorous and academic expectation high. It would have been impossible to predict in 2015 that the depth and intensity of training would be preparing this year’s ordinands as spiritual and community leaders equipped to deal with the realities of our new world.

A considerable part of their training is experiential through community placements and congregational engagement. During recent months as the true impact of the covid crisis unfurled, a heightened sensitivity around rabbinic leadership has become apparent and why the role of the rabbi within Progressive Judaism is more central and relevant than ever.

After the Ordination Service Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, Principle at Leo Baeck College said,

“I am truly proud of the academic standards, leadership and vocational skills our new Rabbis have achieved during their time at the College. Following today’s Ordination we can all feel reassured that our rabbinic alumni are there to ensure progressive Jewish continuity for the next generation, fulfilling Leo Baeck College’s vision.”

The 2020 Ordinands are Rabbi Mati Kirschenbaum who takes up a position at Bromley Reform, Rabbi Deborah Blausten, joining Finchley Reform, Rabbi Dr. Elliott Karstadt at Alyth Gardens and Rabbi Anna Posner at Beit Klal Yisrael and student chaplaincy.