LONDON (Sep. 7)
The office of the British Chief Rabbinate Council announced in a formal statement today that Dr. Yaacov Herzog, of Jerusalem, had informed the Council that, for reasons of health, he would be unable to assume the post of British Commonwealth Chief Rabbi. He was named to the post last May, and was to have assumed his duties in November.
(In Jerusalem, it was reported today, that Dr. Herzog recently underwent a difficult abdominal operation. Dr. Herzog was absent from Jerusalem, and was not available for comment on the London announcement.)
The announcement came as a shock to British Jewry but affected British Jewish organizations refrained from any immediate comment. The apartment in which Dr. Herzog had planned to live as Chief Rabbi, near St. John’s Wood Synagogue, had been renovated and prepared for his use.
It was learned that no move will be made to name a replacement for Dr. Herzog before the High Holy Days. It was indicated that it would take between six months and a year for the necessary steps for naming a new Chief Rabbi.
The formal announcement by Alfred H. Silverman, Council secretary, said that the Council had received “with deep regret” a communication from Dr. Herzog, “intimating that, owing to serious deterioration of his health, he is unable on medical advice to undertake the post of Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth of Nations, to which he was appointed last May 31.”
Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie, whom Dr. Herzog was scheduled to succeed in November, retired last June after serving in the post since 1948.