Supporters make the case for Shenley rabbi

By Jessica Elgot, November 10, 2011

Shenley Synagogue congregants have rallied in support of Rabbi Natan Levy, following a call by some disgruntled members for a vote of no confidence in the minister.

Board of Deputies representative Anthony Spencer claimed "misguided and vicious individuals" were behind an attempt to get the required 10 per cent of membership to back a call for an EGM, where a no confidence vote would be tabled.

American-born Rabbi Levy is awaiting the renewal of his work permit, having rejoined the 150-family Hertfordshire congregation this summer. He had considered leaving last year, saying that he and the community were "not a good fit".

However, Mr Spencer maintained that "Rabbi Levy has worked hard in Shenley and for the wider community in interfaith and environmental issues. It is a disgrace to disrespect him in this way."

Another member, Simon Garcia, said that "not for the first time, we see that the few try and run a community more for what suits them rather than the good of the many.

"This is one very good man. I have only ever found him warm, caring, sincere, engaging and, above all, available. He was one of the main reasons why I moved my membership from Radlett to Shenley. If he does leave, we will lose one of the most caring, know-ledgeable and non-judgmental people I have met.

"In the world we live in, with all the sadness and difficulty that exists, could people just focus on not creating unnecessary difficulty and distress for the majority?"

Around 100 people have signed a letter of support to the JC for Rabbi Levy, organised by former board member Andy Goodman. It expresses "great disappointment" at the "personal and unpleasant tone" of some opponents of the minister.

Rabbi Levy said on Wednesday that he and his wife had been "humbled" by an "overwhelming outpouring of support".

Last updated: 3:39pm, November 10 2011