Rabbi Reuven Livingstone takes pay cut

Hampstead Garden Suburb honorary officers have refused to take questions on a cut in salary and expenses for minister Rabbi Reuven Livingstone.

There were heated exchanges between the shul’s lay leadership and some of the 200 members at Monday’s annual meeting, following the revelation in the 2009 budget of a halving of expenses to be paid to the rabbi — from £12,660 to £6,000. Combined with a lesser salary, the rabbi’s income will fall by 15 per cent, from an £87,000 package to around £75,000.

Financial representative Jeffrey Davidson would not elaborate, describing the matter as “personal”. He did, however, claim that the expenses paid would “adequately reimburse him for expenses occurred when on business”. Other staff salaries have also been reduced.
One member queried whether the cut in expenses would leave the rabbi “with enough money to pay for petrol to be able to officiate at Bushey [cemetery]”. Another asked if a breakdown of the rabbi’s expenses could be discussed under United Synagogue rules, only to be told there “was no need for approval of synagogue accounts”.

Rabbi Livingstone made no reference to his financial circumstances in his own report. The two wardens stood down and there were no nominations to replace them.

    Last updated: 3:47pm, July 22 2009