By Simon Williams, BBC
Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks led the induction of The Chief Minister of Birmingham Hebrew Congregation on Sunday 1st March 2009, at city centre based synagogue, Singers Hill.
Rabbi Yossi Jacobs’s first official position was at the age of 22 ministering to the Netherlee and Clarkston Hebrew congregation in Scotland. This made him one of the youngest serving Rabbis in the country.
Upon receiving the call from Singers Hill synagogue in Birmingham, Rabbi Jacobs arrived in 2005 and has been responsible, for the revival of regular children services and festival parties, youth programs, educational programs for all ages as well as hospitality and activities for the entire community.
He is now the faith leader and representative for the Jewish community in Birmingham. He is Rabbi to King David Primary School and a member of the board of governors. He is also a voluntary chaplain to the hospitals and police force.
Over 500 people attended the induction of the Chief Minister Rabbi Yossi Jacobs from across the United Kingdom, United States of America and Israel.
Rabbi Jacobs has become the eleventh minister of the community that boasts a 153 year history. At the age of 27, he is the youngest Chief Minister in the history of the synagogue. He took the post of Chief Minister following the unexpected death of the late Chief Minister, Rabbi Dr L Tann.
Tann was seen as one of the founding fathers of The Birmingham Interfaith community; having called for calm in the city following the tragic events of 9/11. He died in November 2007.
The Chief Rabbi expressed enthusiasm for the community’s future under the leadership of the new Chief Minister.
The Induction Service
The Service started with an entertaining welcoming speech by the current President – Alan Blumenthal – who emphasised the special quality of the service but drew on his own wedding experience in the shul to highlight the personal connection many have with the synagogue.
The speech was followed by various songs and Psalm 100 and afternoon prayers. After the service, there were prayers read for The British Royal Family and The State of Israel.
Speech and blessing
The Induction Service itself took form of a prayer and induction speech by The Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks who then oversaw the prayer said by Rabbi Yossi Jacobs on taking the role of Chief Minister.
Jacobs then gave his response to the community. Once he had completed his speech, his father, Rabbi Chaim Jacobs of Scotland gave him the traditional blessing (given by a parent to their child, traditionally on a Friday night).
The service was very spiritual and enlightening, it demonstrated the strength of the Birmingham Jewish community. It emphasised the amazing work carried out in the name of building good bonds between faith communities and secular communities across the city of Birmingham.
Attending the induction were the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Chauhdry and representatives from across Birmingham’s faith community.