Glasgow leader hits back at bloggers

By Stephanie Brickman, April 1, 2010

The chairman of Glasgow's Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue has launched a contemptuous attack on bloggers who have accused shul leaders of complicity in the sacking of Masorti man Warren Bader by Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society.

Giffnock and Newlands minister Rabbi Moshe Rubin and the shul management have come under intense and anonymous criticism over the departure of Mr Bader, a key personality in the newly launched Masorti Scotland. Those posting on a blog run by Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum have also ridiculed Giffnock and Newlands leaders for their appearance and clothes.

Addressing the shul's annual meeting, Raymond Strang alleged: "The blog was set up by cowards for cowards to post inaccuracies on the community from the comfort of their armchairs.

"I would be more than happy to answer questions on Giffnock shul and Giffnock congregants but I insist on knowing who I am talking to." His comments were applauded by the 50 members who attended.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Strang called for stricter control of the blog to filter out malicious postings. "There's a lot of unrest about this blog. It's defamatory and divisive, really quite shocking," he claimed. He had declined an invitation to respond on the blog to the anonymous criticisms.

Mr Strang also told the meeting that a discounted membership drive for post bar- and batmitzvah teens had been successfully introduced. The shul's accounts showed a small surplus for the financial year.

Education forum chair Tony Tankelfound it "regrettable" that Mr Strang "has sought to deflect attention from serious questions that have been raised about the shul and its rabbi. The blog exists to allow proper discussion of communal issues, and the fact is that the issues currently surrounding Giffnock have attracted massive interest.

"The right to post anonymously is an accepted convention and we take the view that it is more important to address the points at issue than question the identity of those that post comments."

He stressed that the blog was moderated, and postings were removed if it was felt that an author had gone too far.

Last updated: 12:17pm, April 1 2010