YORK has welcomed the city's first resident Rabbi in 800 years as she begins her new role as the spiritual leader of the Jewish community.

Rabbi Dr Elisheva Salamo was appointed earlier this month by York Liberal Jewish Community (YLJC), which was founded in 2014, with the aim of providing a friendly and inclusive home to any residents, students and visitors to the city who identify as Jewish.

The appointment marks a significant moment in the city’s history, since Rabbi Elisheva will be York’s first resident Rabbi since the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290. 

Rabbi Dr Elisheva said: “I am honoured and privileged to become York’s first Progressive Rabbi, working with the existing community to develop our programme of learning and worship for all age groups, to encourage and inspire those who wish to live a modern Jewish life in harmony with our neighbours and Interfaith friends.

"We share values with so many and as our community grows, we look forward to welcoming new members from within York and from wider Yorkshire, as we continue to enjoy working with you and standing together in this City of Sanctuary."

The arrival of the new Rabbi coincides with research by the University of York which sheds light on York’s thriving Jewish community in the 13th century, including the homes of several leading Jewish citizens and the location of the city’s first synagogue.

The new research, issued this week, shows that the Jewish population of York had rebuilt a community in York in the years following the March 1190 massacre at Clifford’s Tower, when the city’s Jews sought refuge in Clifford’s Tower from a violent antisemitic mob and the pogrom there left over 150 Jews dead.

City of York Council’s executive member for equalities, councillor Katie Lomas, joined the Lord Mayor to welcome Rabbi Elisheva and York’s Liberal Jewish Community’s chair Lilian Coulson to York’s Mansion House on Tuesday September 5.

Rabbi Dr Salamo, who is originally from California, has previously worked in the United States, Switzerland and South Africa - and is an advocate of interfaith dialogue and social action.

In her new role, she will lead York’s Jewish community in worship, with her first formal engagements commencing in September, leading YLJC’s full programme of High Holiday services and events throughout the Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) period.

Lilian Coulson, chair of YLJC, said: "After almost a decade of working together, YLJC is proud and honoured to have become York’s recognised lead faith group within the city, an active member of York Interfaith Group and the go-to partner with City of York Council, York Minster, English Heritage and many other organisations for Jewish faith events and information and advice."