Palmers Green minister fights US plan to make him part-time

By Jay Grenby, January 29, 2009
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Palmers Green and Southgate Synagogue’s Rabbi Emanuel Levy is fighting a move to make his position part-time in a cost-cutting measure.

Although a United Synagogue spokesman suggested that the 60-year-old minister had accepted the change, Rabbi Levy said on Monday that he would appeal against the decision.

“I believe that the need for my services is as great now as it has ever been. We maintain regular daily services, shirum, education and welfare activities, exactly as we have always done.”

The US spokesman pointed out that when Rabbi Levy was appointed in 1985, the shul had 505 male members. “By 2007, there were just over 250, with more than half of those aged 70 or more. Accordingly, fewer ministerial duties are required.

“At the same time, the shul has looked at its balance sheet and found it needs to make immediate savings of around £30,000 per annum to prevent it from going into deficit, a situation which cannot be allowed to happen. Cost-cutting measures had to be initiated — and fast.”

There were no plans for similiar action within other congregations.

Although the shul is no longer in a Jewish neighbourhood, it is hoped that the opening next year of the Jewish Community Secondary School in nearby Barnet may help to attract younger couples back to the area.

Last updated: 10:32am, January 29 2009