Italian rabbi mulling lawsuit over firing

ROME (JTA) – An Italian rabbi has threatened to sue the Jewish community of Trieste over his firing as chief rabbi.

Rabbi Itzhak David Margalit, 64, hired a lawyer and was flying to Israel this week to consult with the Chief Rabbinate there, according to a front-page article Wednesday in the local newspaper Il Piccolo.

The Israel-born rabbi also was reported to have contacted the local branch of a national trade union. Margalit was quoted in the Italian media as saying there was “no just cause” for firing him and that he would present his side of the story later.

Margalit has been chief rabbi of Trieste, a city in northeast Italy, for six years. Jewish community board members voted unanimously late last month to remove him from his post. No reason was given at that time, but the case was described as unprecedented and has received national news coverage.

In a letter sent to community members after the Il Piccolo article appeared, Trieste Jewish community President Alessandro Salonichio said the decision had been taken “after long meditation” and was motivated by the “lack of the relationship of trust that should be the basic and indestructible tie that binds a Jewish community and its spiritual leader.”

Salonichio said the community leadership tried to resolve the issue for more than a year-and-a-half to avoid tensions in the Jewish community and “unwelcome echoes in the media.”

 

 

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