Friday, October 21, 2005

Chabad infighting in Ukraine

You go figure it out.

Baltimore Jewish Times :

...The ceremony itself was a mixed blessing: While it marked a watershed in efforts by Sumy Jews to rebuild Jewish life, it also was marred by infighting among competing Jewish interests that has hampered the community renaissance....
But Rabinovich's money came at a price: Though Sumy already has a Chabad rabbi, sent through the Chabad-controlled Federation of Jewish Communities of the Former Soviet Union, Rabinovich told local Jewish leaders that he was sending his own Chabad rabbi from Kiev to "make sure things go right," one local said.
That's led to an awkward situation, with two Chabad rabbis for one very small Jewish community.
"From one side I understand his logic, but from the other viewpoint there's already a rabbi here who is respected and loved by us," says Alexander Goron, head of the city's Jewish community. "This problem should be solved between the rabbis themselves."
The second rabbi -- who arrived from Kiev in August and hasn't yet received rabbinic ordination -- is by many accounts not trying to make waves. He could not be reached for comment.

The dispute escalated a few days after the Sumy opening, when a majority of Ukrainian rabbis blasted the election of a new chief rabbi -- the country's third -- as illegitimate. More than 30 Chabad rabbis affiliated with the federation issued a statement Sept. 15 saying that the election of another Chabad rabbi, Moshe Reuven Azman of Kiev, to serve as Ukraine's chief rabbi was "illegitimate" and "insulting to the feelings of every believer."
A chief rabbi "can be elected only by rabbis working in Jewish communities of that country," the statement said, referring to the fact that Azman's election Sept. 11 was endorsed by a group of secular Jewish leaders but not by any rabbinical authority.
The vast majority of rabbis permanently working in Ukraine these days are Chabad rabbis affiliated with the federation. Unlike other Orthodox rabbis working in Ukraine, Azman, who is Russian-born, is not affiliated with the federation and for years has received support from Rabinovich, who initiated the election for chief rabbi....
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 4:50 PM


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