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Jewish Community Leader in Germany Plans to Resign

Jerzy Kanal, leader of this city’s some 12,000-strong Jewish community, is planning to resign to resign as a result of differences with the community’s board.

Kanal said he would formally announce his resignation at the board’s next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday. It is unclear when he would leave his post.

Kanal reportedly lost majority support in the board after three members from his conservative faction defected and became independent.

In addition, he faces opposition from a so-called “Democratic List,” which is seeking to gain power over the conservatives.

The major policy dispute concerns this year’s $7 million budget, which remains unapproved because of disputes among factions of the board.

Kanal, a member of the board for 30 years, took over as head of Germany’s largest Jewish community in 1992, after the death of Heinz Galinski.

Although he is the head of the community’s conservative faction and a self- described “nonpracticing Orthodox Jew,” Kanal has proven to be more liberal than most on some issues.

In a recent interview, Kanal said he would not oppose a homosexual service in the city, if there were enough people to support one.

He has also been more favorable than most Jewish leaders here to accommodating a flourishing egalitarian service held every three weeks in the east Berlin Oranienburger Strasse synagogue.

Kanal has also favored building a Holocaust memorial here, a controversial project that has been sharply attacked by other Jewish community leaders and personalities.

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