Dutch shul shut after bad conduct of Berlanders
JTA reports that the Jewish community of Amsterdam temporarily shuttered one of its shuls, citing misconduct, including security breaches, by followers of Israeli Rabbi Eliezer Berland of the Shuvu Bonim Breslov sect.
RIGHT: Hebrew text above the entrance to the shul on Lek Street in Amsterdam, Anne Frank visited this shul
The Jewish Community of Amsterdam, or NIHS, on Wednesday said on its Facebook page that the closure of the shul on Lek Street in the south of the Dutch capital was effective Friday and that the shul may reopen on January 23.
“Following a number of security incidents concerning the Lek Street Synagogue in recent months, the board of the NIHS has decided to close the shul temporarily for security reasons,” the statement said.
A report in the Het Parool daily blamed the closure on Israeli followers of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, the founder of the Shuvu Bonim movement.
The Israelis are not members of the shul but received permission to pray there from its board, the newspaper said.
LEFT: During his 5-month-long stay in SA, Shuvu Bonim leader Rabbi Eliezer Berland & his followers became the most newsworthy story of the year in Jewish South Africa. The “Rabbi on the Run” was making news every week – and Jewish Report led the coverage of his activities – being quoted by several hundred media sources. Read HOW WE CRACKED THE STORY and all the related reads and links to associated documents, video and podcast material.
Rabbi Berland, who fled his native Israel in 2013 amid complaints that he sexually assaulted female followers, is in the Netherlands pending a request by the Israel police for his extradition.
RIGHT: The shul on Lek Street in the south of Amsterdam that was effectively closed last Friday due to the apparent misbehaviour of followers of Rabbi Berland
In the statement, NIHS cited, among other incidents, verbal abuse of volunteers providing security at the synagogue. Additionally, the entrance codes to the synagogue’s electronic lock needed to be changed several times because they “had been given to people who are not members of the community”, the statement read.
The Netherlands is among several Western European countries that saw an increase in anti-Semitic attacks following Israel’s war on Hamas in summer.
Roi Banet, a spokesman for the community of the Lek Street Shul, last month told Het Parool that allowing the Shuvu Bonim followers to pray at the synagogue was “naïve”. He said the followers did not abide by agreements on conduct and time sharing.
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