Last week, Rabbi Davis of Chigwell and Hainault United Synagogue, sent what he described as a “very difficult email to write”. In it he made public the fact that he, along with his wife, Nechama had made the decision to move to Israel to be with their family.
The couple, will be making Aliyah in July 2022, after what he described as nearly 25 “wonderful years”. Having originally met and married in Israel, Rabbi Davis and his wife were “keen to return” 33 years after leaving Israel to take up a position in Australia.
He also explained that their decision had been influenced by the recent pandemic and the difficulty in being able to travel to see his family. As he explained: “Being separated from my mother, four of our sons, our three daughters in law and ALL of our grandchildren has become increasingly difficult, as we are sure you can all imagine”.
He described their time at the synagogue as an “amazing journey” in which they had got to know the community and said that they will miss them all “more than words can tell”.
Chairman Lindsay Shure told EJN that over the time that the couple have been at the shul they had helped steer the community out of troubled times to become the “strong and vibrant position we find ourselves in today”.
He went on to say that there were plans for a series of events to take place so that everyone could say what he called “a personal lehitraot” (‘until we meet again’, rather than just a plain goodbye’) to the couple.
Details for these events will be announced to the community once plans have been finalised.
Steven Wilson, United Synagogue’s chief executive, stated that whilst he was “delighted” for Rabbi and Rebbetzen Davis at being able to be with their family in Israel, the impact that it would have not just in the shul, but the wider Essex area and the Jewish community at large would be “immense”, adding that they would be “sorely missed”.
From a personal point of view, Steven also added that the Rabbi and Rebbetzen had been a “great support” during his time as Chief Executive, and we would miss their “friendship and wise counsel.”
By giving such a long notice period, Rabbi Davis felt that this would give the community the opportunity to find a suitable replacement, who he hoped would be “dynamic, capable and committed to seeing our community continue to flourish”.
It also means that he would have a chance to say “goodbye slowly and properly”.