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Canada Refuses Tax Deductions to Synagogue Employes, Except Rabbis

The Canadian Tax Appeal Board ruled today that a ritual director (shammes) of a synagogue is not entitled to the same income tax deductions as a rabbi. The board made its decision in a judgment rejecting an appeal by Theodore Bloom, ritual director of Toronto’s B’nai Israel Beth David Synagogue, against a ruling of the Revenue Department.

Mr. Bloom claimed a tax deduction of $1,500 for rent paid for his apartment in 1961. He made the claim under a section of the Income Tax Act which permits members of the clergy to deduct rent from taxable income. A Jewish communal official had testified during the appeal that frequently in communities, particularly smaller provincial congregations, combined religious and teaching duties are undertaken by men who do not have full rabbinical ordination and that such persons were known as “spiritual leaders.”

However, the board said that Mr. Bloom is not a member of a body of men set apart by ordination for religious services in the Hebrew faith. It said that his duties could be performed by any other layman with sufficient religious instruction and that if he ceased to be ritual director “he would carry with him to title or designation which would give him any special recognition as the possessor of any special religious qualifications.”

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