Conducting Late Friday Services Disqualifies Rabbi for Orthodox Post

Orthodox Rabbis Render Decision in Dispute in Pennsylvania Town (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

The conducting of late Friday night services and consent to officiate in a congregation where men and women worship together, innovations widely practiced by Conservative congregations, disqualify a rabbi for holding a position in a strictly Orthodox congregation. Such was the decision of a court of three Orthodox rabbis, members of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis in the United States and Canada, called upon to settle a dispute which arose in the local congregation B’nai Abraham. The congregation, which is a member of the United Synagogue of America, belongs to the class usually referred to as Conservative Due, however, to the efforts of Reverend Gerson Weinberg, the cantor and shochet of the congregation, the introduction of innovations practiced by Conservative congregations was prevented. Two years ago Rabbi S. B. Jampol. an ordained Orthodox rabbi, was called to the pulpit of the B’nai Abraham. He introduced late Friday night services, organized a sisterhood, inaugurated a Sunday school and a daily Hebrew school. Interest in congregational activity increased as did the membership.

Soon, however, the congregation split into two opposing camps, the strictly Orthodox siding with Reverend Weinberg, the Modernists supporting Rabbi Jampol. The dispute continued for a long time, until the Conservative officers were compelled to resign, giving way to the Orthodox. With an agreement for another year’s service already concluded with the Rabbi, the officers returned to the Orthodox rites and sought to oust Rabbi Jampol.

The matter was submitted to Rabbi Eleazar Silver of Springfield, Mass.,

Rabbi Natalowitz of Harrisburg, Pa. and Rabbi Krevski of Allentown, Pa. After hearing the evidence, the three Orthodox rabbis decreed that Rabbi S. B. Jampol, having been ordained as an Orthodox rabbi, committed an offense by the introduction of late Friday night services and other Conservative innovations. This action disqualifies him from holding a position in an Orthodox congregation, it being further complicated by the fact that his congregation is now anxious to return to the strictly Orthodox rite. Because of the fact that the contract with Rabbi Jampol was broken, the congregation is to compensate him to the amount of $1,200. For amity’s sake, the rabbis also decreed, that Reverend Weinberg is to leave his post with the congregation.

Rabbi Jambol did not accept the decision, demanding that the matter be submitted to another body of rabbis. The congregation leaders however, insist that if the matter is to be reopened it can be submitted only to strictly observant rabbis.

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