Rabbi faces the axe in costs row

By Candice Krieger, August 28, 2008

A rabbi's future is under threat after members of his congregation asked for a special general meeting to discuss his position.

More than 30 members of the Portsmouth and Southsea Hebrew Congregation are due to meet on Sunday after signing a resolution calling for Rabbi David Katanka to leave.

They say there is "no longer any justification for the cost of current ministerial arrangements for the minister and his wife", amounting to around £29,500 per year. In the last financial year, the synagogue's excess of expenditure over income was estimated at £35,000.

The resolution advises that "the board of management be instructed with immediate effect to give three months' written notice of termination to the minister and his wife".

London-based Rabbi Katanka has been the part-time minister at Portsmouth for the past four-and-a-half years. The JC understands that there have been clashes between the rabbi and some individual members of the community during his term.

Warden Tony Cooper said: "The meeting is to discuss the future generally with an accent on finance, which includes ministerial requirements."

Rabbi Katanka said: "The meeting is a matter of finance and there is no dispute. It is a tiny community that is shrinking and I don't want to be there if they can't afford it. I don't want to be a burden on their finances."

Last updated: 10:36am, August 29 2008