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President of Moscow Synagogue Resigns As Result of Power Struggle

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A power struggle within the congregation of the Moscow synagogue has resulted in the resignation of the president, Efraim Kaplun, and appointment by the government of a new president, Mikhail Yefromovich Tandetni, an American Orthodox rabbinical leader reported today.

Rabbi Pinhas Teitz, a member of the presidium of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, said a group of congregants, led by Cantor Jacob Kleinman, had been seeking Kaplun’s removal for several months. Kaplun ended the battle by submitting a letter of resignation, which Soviet authorities refused initially to accept. They finally did so and named Tandetni to the post on Dec. 23.

Kaplun presented his successor at a meeting of the congregation last week, Rabbi Teitz reported. He said he had spoken by telephone to the new president last night and that Tandetni has informed him he would continue with the present programs at the synagogue. Rabbi Teitz said he was told by Tandetni that matzoh baking had been started at the synagogue and that matzohs were currently being produced at the rate of 2000 pounds per day.

One of the current projects is a yeshiva at the synagogue, where 10 students are now studying. There had been a yeshiva under direction of the late Chief Rabbi Yehuda Leib Levin, which had ended soon after Rabbi Levin’s death and which was revived by Kaplun, Rabbi Teitz said. Kaplun also re-established a kosher dining facility at the synagogue. Rabbi Teitz said Tandetni had informed him he intended to continue those two projects.

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