Gateshead Rav to speak at synagogue of staunch critic of Rabbi Dweck

Rabbi Shraga Feivel Zimmerman will give a talk on Thursday at the synagogue of Rabbi Aaron Bassous


The Gateshead Rav, Rabbi Shraga Feivel Zimmerman, is to speak later this week at the synagogue of the strictly Orthodox Sephardi rabbi at the forefront of the campaign against Rabbi Joseph Dweck, senior rabbi of the S and P Sephardi Community (SPSC).

Rabbi Aaron Bassous, who runs the Beth Hamedrash Knesset Yehezkel in Golders Green, was the first UK rabbi to speak out after Rabbi Dweck’s controversial lecture in May on gay love.

Rabbi Zimmerman, who has told colleagues Rabbi Dweck was not fit to serve a rabbi, is regarded as one of the most influential strictly Orthodox rabbis in Britain.

His appearance in Golders Green in Thursday will be seen by many as a sign of support for Rabbi Bassous.

A poster for the event says Gateshead leader will give a “special shiur” (religious class) on joy in serving God.

Rabbi Bassous said he did not know whether it would refer to the dispute over Rabbi Dweck but he confirmed that the Gateshead Rav’s talk had been arranged after the controversy broke out.

Rabbi Bassous denounced Rabbi Dweck as “dangerous” at a talk at Knesset Yehezkel, which is affiliated to the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations.

Only a few days ago, a supporter of Rabbi Dweck, Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo, head of an independent Orthodox institute in Jerusalem, called on Rabbi Zimmerman to withdraw his condemnation of the SPSC leader.

Rabbi Dweck was attacked for suggesting there had  been positive aspects to greater social acceptance of homosexuality in society, But opponents say their issue with him goes deeper and concerns his lenient views more generally on religious observance.

In the meantime, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is pursuing efforts to find a way to bring the dispute to a "suitable conclusion".


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