David Lazar at an inter-faith ceremony in Stockholm's Cathedral, with imam Othman Al Tawalbe. Photo: Jessica Gow / SCANPIX

Stockholm rabbi speaks out on job controversy

5:41 min

The Jewish Community of Stockholm announced in a press release Thursday night that it would not renew rabbi David Lazar's contract, citing controversy over his role in the community. But speaking to Radio Sweden, Lazar, an outspoken LGBT supporter, says he is exactly the rabbi he promised he would be.

"The Community has said there are many members who are not happy with the kind of rabbi I am,” Lazar said.

"While I'm sure that's the case, I've never hidden anything about my rabbinic calling. As early as interviewing for the job I made it clear that if I were to come, I would have to be free to work within the area of LGBT rights both religiously and civilly."

Lazar has been the rabbi at Stockholm's Great Synagogue since 2010. He was negotiating an extention to his contract that is up for renewal at the end of August. During the negotiations, many of his supporters signed a petition to keep him.

However on Thursday night, the community's negotiators, Isak Abramowicz and Thomas Bab, wrote in a press release that they could not reach an agreement that both satisfied Lazar and the Jewish community.

Radio Sweden has been in contact with the Jewish Community of Stockholm. They say they are not making any more comments.

Lazar says, however, that the Community gave him an offer they knew he could not accept. The Community had offered him another three year, temporary contract.  "I told them at my age I can't accept a position that has no stability," Lazar said.

By Gabriel Stein

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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