London rabbis call colleague ‘not fit’ to serve

(JTA) — Five London rabbis have declared Rabbi Chaim Halpern from Golders Green “not fit” to act as a rabbi because of accusations that he had behaved “inappropriately” with women.

The five rabbis demanded in a statement published on Thursday that Halpern cease to act as rabbi at his home synagogue in northwest London because of the accusations, which surfaced last month. 

“We are confident of our conclusion that the Rov concerned is not fit and proper to act in any rabbinic capacity. This unequivocal decision was taken after painstaking and extensive investigations, including interviews with alleged victims,” the statement read.

The authors — Chanoch Ehtrentreu, Menachem Gelley, Yonason Abraham, Shimon Winegarten and Yissochor Knopfler — did not name Chaim Halpern in their letter.

On Dec. 6, the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations said it would convene a special rabbinic court to hear claims against Halpern, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

Halpern resigned as a union rabbinic judge and from other communal roles two weeks ago following complaints about his counseling sessions for women, but he continues to lead the synagogue he runs in his Golders Green home.

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