Holocaust day row leaves war veterans out in the rain

By Daniel Easterman, January 30, 2014

A clash between Orthodox and Reform in Brighton led to a rabbi being barred from a prayer hall at a Holocaust Memorial Day service.

War veterans and members of Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue were forced to hold their own ceremony standing outside in the rain.

The dramatic clash took place on Sunday morning after Rabbi Andrea Zanardo was told he could not enter the hall at the city’s Orthodox Meadowview cemetery for what was meant to be a joint event.

Rabbi Zanardo led the outdoor ceremony with his congregants, while some Orthodox members joined him in solidarity, holding an umbrella over him for the duration of the event.

In a statement, Sussex Jewish Representative Council said it was “deeply disappointed” by the row and blamed the board of the Orthodox Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation.

“We understand that the decision was based on halachic advice, despite the fact that the prayer hall contains no ark or Torah scrolls,” the council said.

However a source close to the Reform congregation suggested that Rabbi Hershel Rader, of the Orthodox shul, may have been involved in making the decision to bar Rabbi Zanardo.

Rabbi Rader denied any responsibility and said he was not present at the cemetery at the time.

The chairmen of both shuls issued a joint statement on Tuesday, expressing “sincere regrets for any discomfort or embarrassment”.

Orthodox chair David Seidel and his Reform counterpart Michael Harris said there had been an “unfortunate misunderstanding”.

Last updated: 11:03am, February 4 2014