Shul tells Rabbi Bassous: ‘No alternative but to treat your resignation as running its course’

Beth Hamedrash Knesset Yehezkel Sephardi trustees say outspoken minister has not responded meaningfully to mediation suggestions


The trustees of the synagogue of outspoken Golders Green rabbi Aharon Bassous have told him he will have to resign in February unless he agrees to a protocol put to him in October. 

After weeks of tension within the Beth Hamedrash Knesset Yehezkel Sephardi congregation, the trustees accused him in a letter marked “strictly private and confidential” on Monday of not responding meaningfully to suggestions of mediation. 

They said they wanted to sort out “all the various issues between us”, including the financial situation of the charity. Earlier this month, trustees warned members of the congregation that they might have to sell its new building, opened earlier this year. 

“As a result of not having moved forwards in our attempts to resolve matters, we have no alternative but to treat your resignation as currently running its course,” they told Rabbi Bassous. 

“We reject your statement that you did not give a valid and binding resignation. You explicitly stated you were resigning on three separate occasions, including a statement in front of the whole community.” 

Under his employment agreement, he was “required to give six months’ notice but purported to give less notice, bringing your employment to an end at the end of Sukkot. 

“We did not accept that you had the right to give a shorter notice period than the contract provided for and we maintain that your notice will expire after six months.  

“It is therefore our position that, unless you engage with us on the proposed protocol put forward on 5 October, your employment will terminate on 11 February 2021.” 

If the rabbi was dissatisfied, he could bring the matter before a Beth Din. 

The trustees also wrote: “On another point, we are aware that there was a break-in to the shul on Friday morning the 27th of November and that services were conducted apparently in breach of Covid guidelines and against our instructions as trustees.  

“There has also been vandalism to the building by certain members with theft to internet and CCTV equipment which has paralysed some of the systems including security.” 

They said they had yet to investigate the matter fully. 

Rabbi Bassous was approached for comment.


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