The now-ousted president of the Prague Jewish community wanted a new rabbi to run the Atle-Nue Schule.
The fracas began last spring when [Tomas] Jelinek, a onetime economic adviser to former Czech president Vaclav Havel, won election with the backing of a group of mostly secular Jews. His platform called for construction of a modern senior-care facility, greater financial transparency and an easing of the strictly Orthodox religious policies of Prague's chief rabbi, Karol Sidon.
So, where did Mr. Jelinek turn for a less-Orthodox rabbi willing to 'bend the rules' for him?
In June, Jelinek moved to dismiss Sidon [a native Czech] as rabbi of the Old-New Synagogue and replace him with a New York-born Lubavitch rabbi, Manis Barash, head of Prague's Chabad center.
So, how did Prague's Jewish community deal with the Jelinek-Chabad putsch?
Sidon's allies struck back at a November 7 community meeting, winning Jelinek's ouster in a raucous scene of shouting and threats — including cries of, "You should have stayed in Terezin" — at the height of which Jelinek and his followers stalked out. Since then, the two sides have faced off in a series of legal and media battles.
The Czech Federation of Jewish Communities came out against Mr. Jelinek – who has allies allegedly associated with the former communist secret police – and in favor of Rabbi Sidon, a former dissident, and his supporters.
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