Prague Jews elect new chief rabbi

Julie Wiener

PRAGUE (JTA) — The Jewish community of Prague elected Rabbi David Peter, a native of the Czech capital, as its new chief rabbi.

The community announced the choice of Peter, 38, the rabbi at the Jerusalem Synagogue in Prague, in a news released issued Tuesday.

Peter has been working as the rabbi at the Jerusalem Synagogue since returning to the Czech Republic from Israel in 2011, the year he was ordained at the Straus-Amiel seminary there.

He succeeds Rabbi Karol Sidon, 71, who resigned last month, citing age and issues in his personal life. Sidon is staying on as the chief rabbi of the Czech Republic.

Peter, a graduate of the dance conservatory in Prague, joined the Czech National Theatre ensemble before enrolling at the Machon Meier center for Jewish studies in Jerusalem in 1998. He went on to study at yeshivas in Israel before being ordained.

In a 2010 interview for Czech Radio, Peter said he decided to become a rabbi at the age of 17 or 18 after discovering that one of his distant ancestors was a rabbi.

“My dream is to help people embrace their Jewishness,” he said.