Sephardi survives 'no confidence' motion

By Leon Symons, April 1, 2010

The ruling body of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation has survived a motion of no confidence but has failed to heal the divisions within the community.

Efforts were made at the annual meeting to draw a line over the resignation last year of Rabbi Natan Asmoucha at Bevis Marks Synagogue, after tensions with the mahamad (executive) over his participation in an interfaith demonstration against high bank interest charges.

The mahamad said it was "delighted to have received the support of its members" at the AGM. But critics came away with a very different impression. They claimed they had not been given answers to questions raised about financial matters and that a motion, calling for a full review of governance, was called as lost, only to be carried following protests.

One congregant, Doris Osen, said there had been a number of heated exchanges and that the meeting had been a "debacle". A mahamad member acknowledged: "We have to respect what the members have said. We have allowed members to vote and move forward with a common purpose."

Last updated: 12:17pm, April 1 2010