A senior rabbi has been forced to quit his synagogue after an ‘inappropriate association with a married woman’.
Yonason Abraham, 55, said he had ‘fallen short of the standards expected’, adding he was ‘deeply sorry I have let you down’.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis issued a statement saying the ‘shameful episode … has shaken us to the core’.
He added: ‘When one of us fails in this manner, we are all greatly diminished.’ The disgraced rabbi is said to have quit over his links with the wife of a millionaire, to whom he gave ‘pastoral support’ in her marital home.
The marriages of both the rabbi and the millionaire were said to have been rocked by the scandal – although it is understood that neither couple has split.
Rabbi Abraham had founded the Toras Chaim synagogue near Golders Green in north London, and had long been respected as one of the four judges in the London Beth Din court. He has also resigned from this latter role.
His reputation as a devout leader of the Jewish community was questioned last month when he sent his sudden resignation letter to his congregation.
The rabbi said he had been under ‘exceptional strain and stress for some time which has taken its inevitable toll’, adding: ‘I now need to help myself and my family.’ A source close to the community told the Daily Mail: ‘He had got far too close to the glamorous wife of a multi-millionaire and senior figure in the community.
They have children. She suddenly started receiving a lot of pastoral support from [Rabbi] Abraham at her marital home. It’s said it wasn’t long before he crossed personal and religious boundaries.
‘The husband became so concerned at the rabbi’s frequent visits that he hired a private eye to find out what exactly was going on.
What he told the husband was enough for him and his wife to face possible divorce – and for the rabbi to resign.’
The source went on: ‘The husband’s hackles were first raised when his wife said she wanted the family to “embrace their faith” more. They attend synagogue like any other family so this seemed to him an odd thing to say.
‘Then there were all the visits from the rabbi, including his using the swimming pool, which on reflection was odd as well as he was supposed to be there to give pastoral support.
His worst fears were realised when the private eye produced evidence that left him in no doubt the rabbi was behaving inappropriately.
‘It was assumed they were divorcing but somehow they are holding it together. The rabbi’s reputation however has been ruined.
‘I don’t know how his marriage has survived. The fact that he is a judge in the religious court makes this even more embarrassing and hypocritical.’
The millionaire and his wife declined to comment when approached by the Daily Mail with the allegations. Rabbi Abraham also declined to comment.