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Row over fraudster's son's barmitzvah

    Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue
    Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue

    The son of a convicted fraudster will not be allowed to celebrate his barmitzvah in the main synagogue of his local shul, it has been revealed.

    But Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue denied claims that it had ostracised the family of Dan Jacobs, insisting his relatives had "always been welcome".

    Jacobs was jailed for five years in October after stealing £120,573 from his in-laws to fund a gambling addiction. He was also alleged to have stolen £40,000 from a fund used to establish an eruv in the Hertfordshire town.

    Since he was sentenced, rumours had surfaced that Jacobs's wife and four children had been banned from attending the synagogue.

    It was claimed that Mrs Jacobs had been told she could not re-apply for shul membership unless she divorced her husband and obtained a get.

    The couple's middle son is due to have his barmitzvah in March 2016.

    But a spokesman for the synagogue rubbished the claims and said that although the Jacobs family were no longer paying members, the shul was continuing to support them.

    He said: "The Jacobs family have never been denied any United synagogue membership, but have not been US members since November 2011. Mrs Jacobs has been invited to discuss terms suitable to her with our financial representative."

    The synagogue's rabbi and rebbetzin, Chaim and Bianca Kanterovitz, and honorary officers have met Mrs Jacobs to discuss the situation.

    The spokesman said the shul could not accommodate the barmitzvah in its main synagogue as it had already been booked for a batmitzvah that Shabbat.

    He said families needed to book a simcha six months ahead. Joint simchas can be held, but only if booked in advance.

    The JC understands that the boy's barmitzvah service will be held in the shul's youth minyan room, with a kiddush also taking place.

    "Rumours that Mrs Jacobs requires a get to apply for membership are untrue and without foundation," the spokesman added.

    Last week, Jacobs wrote to the JC from his prison cell, asking that his family not be punished for his mistakes.

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