Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence

A senior London rabbi has defended his decision to show a controversial film on Tisha B’av, following a number of complaints from shul members.

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence at Finchley United Synagogue (Kinloss) came in for criticism for showing ‘The Gatekeepers,’ a documentary which tells the story of Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, from the perspective of six of its former heads.

A Jewish News reader, who preferred to remain anonymous, voiced her “anger” towards Lawrence for showing what she said was a “politically-charged” film.

The Gatekeepers

The Gatekeepers

Lawrence said: “I received two direct emails from members,” adding that the shuls joint chairs had also received “a few complaints”.

However, he said: “The film had been advertised for a month without anyone raising any complaint. There was no intention to associate Kinloss with any political agenda of the film.”

On the timing of the screening, he said: “Tisha B’Av is supposed to be a day of confrontation, not comfort.” He added that the film was “a way of highlighting divisions and internal tensions within the people and the country of Israel… It was supposed to be disquieting and make us reflect.”