Rabbi is not a unanimous choice


Hendon Adath's newly chosen rabbi is expected to take up his post at the strictly Orthodox community before next Rosh Hashanah.

But in a vote of members, there were 54 against the appointment of Rabbi Shloime Yitzchok Bixenspanner from Canada - with 101 in favour. The special meeting followed his visit to the community a few days earlier.

He will succeed Rabbi Pinchas Roberts, who retired in January after leading the congregation for 50 years.

Born in Montreal, father-of-10 Rabbi Bixenspanner studied in Switzerland and Jerusalem and ran a synagogue in Monsey, New Jersey, before founding his current congregation, Kahal Yereim, in Toronto. He has published several religious books and pamphlets.

A source at the synagogue said Rabbi Bixenspanner is "a very friendly and approachable character. We are looking to expand our membership with a hands-on approach and return the shul to its former glory."

We are looking to return the shul to its former glory

Although there were suggestions that Rabbi Bixenspanner had needed to secure two-thirds of the vote and had narrowly fallen short at just over 65 per cent, the source dismissed this, insisting that, constitutionally, only "a simple majority" was required.

Rabbi Roberts has been one of the staunchest opponents of the North-West London eruv approved by the London Beth Din.

The synagogue source said that Rabbi Bixenspanner would be "releasing a statement to clarify his position on the eruv before Shabbos. As far as I am aware, he has no objection to the eruv."

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