Hendon rabbi loses job

By Keren David, July 16, 2009
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Financial cutbacks have cost a new community its full-time rabbi.

Rabbi Avi Scharf is returning to Israel after a year, following a funding cut to reduce his role at the Alei Tzion community in Hendon to part-time.

The rabbi arrived from Israel last year with his wife Devorah and their four children. His position was funded by the congregation, the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) and Immanuel College.

Alei Tzion’s board has written to members, reporting with “deep regret” that Rabbi Scharf and his family would be returning to Israel because the LSJS and Immanuel College were unable to renew their financial contributions. An LSJS spokesman refused to comment, while Immanuel College said that Rabbi Scharf worked at the school only for two mornings a week, so its contribution was minimal.

The community has been able only to secure funding for a part-time rabbi next year, backed by the United Synagogue. And Rabbi Scharf was unable to continue on that basis.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have Rav Avi and Devorah with us this year, providing us with spiritual and communal leadership,” wrote the board in its letter. “We must now look to the future and begin the search for a new rabbi and rebbetzen for our community.”

Rabbi Scharf was unavailable for comment.

    Last updated: 11:22am, July 16 2009