New West End rabbi compares attending private minyanim to 'idol worship'

Rabbi Moshe Freedman said he would deny aliya to anyone who had attended one



The Rabbi of the New West End Synagogue has said those attending private minyanim during the coronavirus lockdown are “idol worshippers” and will no longer be called upon read Torah in his synagogue.

Moshe Freedman said on Tuesday afternoon: “If you have taken part in a private minyan during the lockdown, you will not receive an aliya in my shul.”

“We cannot offer an honour to idol worshippers,” he tweeted, adding: “You think that you’re praying to God, but you’re actually worshipping the minyan, and that is idol worship.”

Rabbi Freedman has been the Rabbi at the New West End Synagogue in Bayswater since 2015.  

On March 17, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis ordered the closure of all United Synagogue shuls, including the New West End Synagogue.

He wrote: “we have a Halachic imperative to suspend all activity at all of our Synagogues until further notice. This includes on-site and off-site prayer services”.

Rabbi Freedman is not the first London Rabbi to call out private minyanim.

On Thursday, Rabbi Joseph Dweck, the senior rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community urged congregants not to attend “black market” minyanim.

“You have these minyanim, these covert, quiet, under the table minyanim, and it puts everything in danger,” Rabbi Dweck said.

“That is very concerning to me because people are dying.”  

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