The 500-mem­ber shul which can­not af­ford a full-time rabbi

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community - BY JC RE­PORTERS

RABBI CHARLES Wal­lach has brought for­ward his re­tire­ment at cash-strapped Brighton and Hove Re­form Syn­a­gogue.

Chair­man Michael Har­ris has in­formed mem­bers that the min­is­ter will leave his full-time em­ploy­ment at the end of April, although he will act as con­sul­tant rabbi on a free­lance ba­sis.

Although the shul has 500 adult mem­bers, many are el­derly and 150 pay re­duced sub­scrip­tion rates. Mem­ber­ship has dropped from 600 at the end of 2009. The num­ber of chil­dren in the com­mu­nity has re­mained con­stant at around 100.

“It was the rabbi’s decision to take early re­tire­ment,” Mr Har­ris said. “This fol­lowed dis­cus­sions about the syn­a­gogue’s fi­nan­cial po­si­tion. His decision has been sup­ported by the board.” In Septem­ber last year, the board iden­ti­fied an on­go­ing deficit of £35,000. “We can’t go on like this.”

The shul has re­serves of £150,000 but its 1960s build­ing in Hove’s Palmeira Av­enue will re­quire ma­jor re­pairs within the next few years, in­clud­ing a roof re­place­ment. “We don’t know where the money is go­ing to come from,” Mr Har­ris said.

Rabbi Wal­lach, 62, was “sad that the syn­a­gogue’s fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion forced a cur­tail­ment of my con­tract. I thought very care­fully about the of­fer of a part­time po­si­tion but de­cided to con­tinue to be avail­able to the syn­a­gogue as a free­lance rabbi for the im­me­di­ate fu­ture.”

Thank­ing Rabbi Wal­lach and his wife for their con­tri­bu­tion, Mr Har­ris said a part-time re­place­ment would be sought.

Lord Put­tnam ( left) and Martin Pais­ner at the Weiz­mann din­ner

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