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Jewish Community, Bagdad, Succeeds in Persuading King to Oust Chief Rabbi

June 30, 1930
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Thanks to the intervention of King Faisal and Prime Minister Nuri Pasha, the controversy which has been raging during the past few years in the Jewish community of Bagdad over the actions of the Chief Rabbi, Sassoon Khedoori has been settled. A governmental decree has been issued which abolishes the present Jewish General Council, consisting of 20 rabbinical and 80 lay members, and provides for the appointment of Rabbi Abraham Aslan Yahooda as provisional agent to supervise the new elections.

INTERFERED WITH RABBINICAL COURT

The actions of the former Chief Rabbi in interfering with the work of the Rabbinical Court in regulating Jewish religious affairs in Bagdad had aroused the resentment of the major part of the Jewish community here. After the lay council, which consisted in the main of the Rabbi’s supporters, decided to suppress the Rabbinical Court, a general strike was proclaimed by the sheep-slaughtering agents. This had the effect of stopping the collection of the meat tax by the community and of paralyzing all Jewish communal works.

Last March there was held there a gigantic Jewish demonstration, in which 20,000 people took part and which marched to the cemetery and thence to the royal palace to record its protest against the actions of the Chief Rabbi. The progress of the demonstrants was thwarted by the police, and a struggle ensued culminating in the arrest of many Jews, among them one of the influential rabbis.

AROUSED FURTHER RESENTMENT

This aroused the resentment of the Jewish community towards the Chief Rabbi even further, so that at last the government was forced to intervene and remove him. A special meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s residence to which nine Jewish notables were called to give their views. As a result of this and other conferences, the removal of the Chief Rabbi was ordered by the government.

Upon learning of this order, the Jewish community in Bagdad held a service of thanksgiving at the Great Synagogue, at which gratitude was expressed to the King and Prime Minister for their intervention.

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