Rabbis leave faith forum

January 29, 2009

Both Jewish executive members of an interfaith forum which advises Redbridge Council in Essex have resigned after the forum passed a resolution expressing “outrage” at events in the Middle East.

Rabbi Geoffrey Hyman, of Ilford United Synagogue and Rabbi Maurice Michaels of South-West Essex Reform Synagogue announced they were leaving the management committee of the independent Redbridge Faith Forum.

The resolution said that the committee was “outraged by the humanitarian crisis that is taking place in the Holy Land”.

An earlier version , emailed to members following a meeting of the committee last week, which neither of the rabbis attended, had read “saddened” rather than “outraged”.

Forum chairman Councillor Filly Maravala said the change was requested by members who commented on the draft. “This was done so sensitively I didn’t think anyone could take umbrage,” he said. “We were outraged by the rockets being fired into Israel as well.” Forum members were “extremely sad” at the rabbis’ resignation and wanted them to reconsider it, he said.

Rabbi Michaels, who helped to set up the group in 2003, said he believed “this is a mishandling of a situation rather than a malicious attempt to denigrate Israel”.

Last updated: 10:08am, August 18 2009