Peace talks defuse Brighton nursery dispute

By Cecily Woolf, August 1, 2008

A contentious plan by Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation to relocate the local Jewish nursery may be shelved after last-minute negotiations.

Accepting children from across the Jewish spectrum, the nursery has operated rent-free from a New Church Road, Hove, building for 30 years. However, the Hebrew congregation says it urgently needs income from the site "to fund a full-time rabbi".

There had been anger at the BHHC proposal for the nursery to move to the next-door premises so that its building could be leased to a local private school. Nursery director Rabbi Pesach Efune complained of a lack of consultation and the short timespan given. "It was unreasonable and would have meant the demise of the nursery."

Rabbi Efune applied to the London Beth Din for an adjudication. But following a conciliatory letter from BHHC chairman Russell Gross, a meeting also involving Sussex Jewish Representative Council officers was held last week to try to resolve the situation.

Afterwards, Mr Gross said the BHCC board was "considering a new proposal regarding a licensed lease to the nursery". Rabbi Efune said: "We have stayed the beth din hearing to enable us to agree a lease."

Last updated: 4:18pm, July 16 2009