Beth Jacob won’t renew rabbi’s contract after sabbatical year

By Marshall Weiss, The Dayton Jewish Observer

Rabbi Hillel Fox

For the first time in 57 years, Beth Jacob Synagogue will not have a Rabbi Fox on the bima.

In a letter to the Traditional congregation’s members dated Aug. 22, synagogue President Dr. Herman I. Abromowitz announced that Beth Jacob’s board voted on Aug. 18 “not to accept a counter-offer as presented by Rabbi Hillel Fox to continue as our Beth Jacob Synagogue Rabbi.”

Under the terms of his current contract, Fox began a sabbatical in Israel from Aug. 1 through July 31, 2012, the last day of his 10-year contract with the synagogue.

Fox took over the pulpit at Beth Jacob Synagogue in 1993 from his father, Rabbi Samuel Fox, who served the congregation since 1955.

In the letter, Abromowitz stated that it was with “deep regret that we were unable to reach acceptable terms.”

He added that the board will now begin its search for a future rabbi and that “Rabbi Hillel Fox was welcome to contact us in the future if he wishes to be included in this search.”

“The synagogue will conduct a private search and will keep members of the synagogue informed as it progresses,” Abromowitz said in an interview with The Observer.

Fox was unavailable for comment. Abromowitz also indicated in the letter that in a phone conversation with Fox, he told the rabbi, “that in my opinion this was indeed a very sad moment in the history of Beth Jacob Synagogue and in all sincerity extended to him a very special and personal thank you and  best wishes from all of us at Beth Jacob Synagogue to Rabbi Hillel, Chana, and their family for all of their wonderful contributions throughout the years to Beth Jacob Synagogue.”

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