Struggling Hull lays off long-time minister

Hull Hebrew Congregation will be without a full-time rabbi for the first time in its history after having to make its minister redundant for financial reasons.

Rabbi Shalom Osdoba and his family will relocate to London at the end of October after 18 years in Hull.

Shul president Jonathan Levine said the redundancy was a consequence of a "declining" financial situation and a falling membership. Negotiations with the rabbi had been "very amicable".

Rabbi Shlomo Odze, chair of the Chief Rabbi's Provincial Rabbinic Council, helped mediate an agreement which will see Rabbi Osdoba continue to lead services until after the High Holy-Days.

He will then return to east Yorkshire twice a month for Shabbat and will also conduct Yomtov services, stone settings and other communal events. This arrangement will run until next June.

"It's a major change," Rabbi Osdoba said. "It's not ideal but time will tell whether we can continue to have a reasonable Jewish life in Hull. It depends on the determination of the community to carry on and keep it going.

"I've been there 18 years - it's a long time. I know them well and they know me well. I would like to be involved as much as possible and assist them directly or indirectly."

Mr Levine added that although the loss of a full-time rabbi was regretted, "we are confident that this agreement will give us a period of stability during which we can adapt to this new and challenging situation".

Last updated: 11:14am, June 17 2011