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London Jewish Community in Rift Between Chief Rabbi and Noted Synagogue

April 20, 1964
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The authority of the United Synagogue of Great Britain and its ecclesiastical head, Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie to veto an appointment of a spiritual leader of one of its constituent congregations was challenged here yesterday when Dr. Louis Jacobs, a prominent British rabbi and educator, assumed the ministry of the New West End Synagogue, one of the leading congregations in Britain. The United Synagogue owns the premises of the New West End Synagogue as it does that of all its constituent congregations, and is entitled to all surplus funds of member synagogues.

Chief Rabbi Brodie has withheld his approval of the appointment of Dr. Jacobs to the post because of the latter’s public statements on basic Jewish theological doctrine. Dr. Jacobs had previously served in the New West End pulpit from 1954 to 1960, when he left to join the staff of Jews’ College here. He was next in line for the appointment as principal of Jews’ College two years ago, when his name was passed over by the Chief Rabbi, Dr. Brodie made it clear at the time that he considered Dr. Jacobs unsuitable because of the latter’s concept of Judaism which, he felt, was out of step with Orthodox Jewish teaching.

The United Synagogue notified the New West End Synagogue that it would not endorse Dr. Jacobs’ appointment when he was invited to take that post a month ago. But the congregation’s board ignored the parent body and asked Dr. Jacobs to begin preaching yesterday.

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