The Jewish Chronicle

Congregant­s at loggerhead­s at Bassous shul

- BY SIMON ROCKER

RABBI AHARON Bassous is continuing to officiate at the Golders Green synagogue he founded more than 30 years ago despite being informed by the trustees that they would no longer pay his salary or expenses from Thursday of last week.

Rabbi Bassous has rejected the trustees’ position that he offered his resignatio­n last year, insisting he had made no “valid and binding” decision to leave.

Since Shabbat, rival services have been taking place at Beth Hamedrash Knesset Yehezkel with members loyal to Rabbi Bassous praying upstairs and supporters of the trustees in the basement.

Tensions within the Sephardi community, which is affiliated to the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregati­ons, were evident from social media messages circulatin­g this week.

A text message, believed to come from supporters of the rabbi, claimed that someone from downstairs had “verbally abused” one of the worshipper­s in the upstairs group during the evening service on Sunday.

It said “such behaviour will not be tolerated” and urged the trustees “to stop any activity with immediate effect” until a Beth Din had ruled on the situation.

A short video clip, seen by the JC, shows a heated exchange before a man leaves the room.

The rabbinate of the UOHC has said that a rabbi cannot be removed against his will without the decision of a Beth Din that has heard

UOHC says rabbi cannot be removed without Beth Din decision

from both sides.

The trustees have previously warned members that BHKY’s new building, which opened only last year, may have to be sold or its use split. There were £3 million of bank loans arising from the building project.

Rabbi Bassous has been an outspoken figure, attacking Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis over LGBT issues.

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