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Tight contest for Gateshead leadership

Election for president of the Charedi stronghold goes into second round

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One of the keenest contests for communal office in recent years is taking place – in the yeshivah town of Gateshead.

Five candidates entered the field to become president of the 3,000-strong community this week, bidding to succeed Yankel Kaufman, who died aged 71 before Pesach.

But none mustered over the 50 per cent of votes needed to emerge the winner, so the top two will now go head-to-head in a second round.

Yosef Schleider, with 144 votes out of 415, was narrowly ahead of Rabbi Simcha Kohn with 136 in the first round.

Ballot papers must be returned by Monday.

The new president will have the task of finding a new rav for the Tyneside community, following Rabbi Shraga Feivel Zimmerman’s departure for London earlier this  year to head the Federation of Synagogues.

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