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Hamburg rabbi fired

The firing of a community rabbi in Germany because he lacked ordination papers is roiling Hamburg’s Jewish community.

Dov-Levy Barsilay was fired after community leaders discovered that the Israeli institution that Barsilay claimed had ordained him in 1986 had no such record.

Barsilay, 60, who reportedly had planned to negotiate his retirement pension before being dismissed, called the charges against him a “pack of lies” and accused the community of trying to ruin his reputation. He told NDR radio he is considering legal action.

The scandal has shaken and divided Hamburg’s Jewish community, with reports on the scandal in mainstream German media and several former board members of the community arguing for Barsilay’s reinstatement.

“The unjust firing of our very honored rabbi,” wrote two former Jewish community board members in an open letter, “is a scandal for our Jewish community.”

Jewish community president Ruben Herzberg said the community had to act based on the evidence. He declined to give further details.

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