Reading rabbi wins court battle with synagogue that sacked him

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Reading rabbi wins court battle with synagogue that sacked him

Rabbi Zvi Solomons
Rabbi Zvi Solomons
Rabbi Zvi Solomons
Rabbi Zvi Solomons

A wronged rabbi was celebrating this week after reaching an out-of-court settlement with the shul that sacked him.

Rabbi Zvi Solomons, a Jewish News columnist and founder of the Jewish Community of Berkshire, took Reading Hebrew Congregation to an employment tribunal after realising that the congregation could afford to keep him – despite their protestations to the contrary. 

Lawyers for Solomons, who was claiming £120,000 for breach of contract, failure to pay redundancy payment, unfair dismissal and a dispute over wages, settled at 3.30pm on the second day of the two-day hearing, leaving the rabbi “delighted”.

Solomons served the congregation for seven years from 2008, but a dwindling membership and a building in need of renovation led to a decision to end the full-time rabbi’s contract by the shul’s board, with no fundraising attempted.

At the tribunal, however, president of the board Sarah Firsht was forced to admit that there had in fact been enough money to pay the £32,000 needed to keep Solomons, his wife Shira and their three children. She also accepted that the shul had a responsibility to employ a rabbi so long as it was “financial prudent”.

Solomons, who provided private services in his home after he was sacked, said: “We hope that in future that the Jewish Community of Berkshire will be able to work harmoniously together with the Reading Hebrew Congregation.” 

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