By Cecily Woolf, The Jewish Chronicle
Over 50 Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation members are demanding an Extraordinary General Meeting to protest against what they see as anti-Lubavitch sentiments by the shul’s management.
They want Lubavitch rabbi Herschel Rader to be given a permanent contract when his temporary deal expires on November 1.
The synagogue board has refused to commit itself on a rabbinical appointment.
Brighton and Hove’s last incumbent, Rabbi Pesach Efune, is also a Lubavitch minister. He resigned in May 2007 for personal reasons.
Speaking for the dissenting members, former congregation chairman Keith Davis complained that the board had ignored several requests for information and a meeting. “We took exception to some policy decisions,” he said.
Another concern of the group had been a proposal by the synagogue to move the nursery, run by Rabbi Efune and his wife Penina, to premises they claimed were unsuitable. The plan has since been dropped.
They also point out that a picture of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Schneerson had disappeared from its position of honour in the synagogue’s Mark Luck Hall.
Board chairman Russell Gross was saddened by the group’s demand. “I’ve already held three surgeries at the shul and nobody has raised these issues there,” he maintained.
“In addition, we have now formally invited Mr Davis to a meeting to discuss these matters.
“I do not know the circumstances of the picture’s disappearance from the Mark Luck Hall and we totally deny any form of prejudice.”