Dispute Over Haifa’s Great Shul Turning Chareidi


There appears to be a power struggle surrounding control of Haifa’s main shul, a shul that is no longer a center for mispalalim, but serving a small number of people on Shabbos, who generally daven in a downstairs small chapel.

Belzer Chassidim of Haifa are working to utilize the main shul, which sits vacant, but it appears their plans are not supported by all.

At one point a number of years ago, the city’s chief rabbi, Rav Shar Yashuv Cohen Shlita turned to the local Chabad community to daven in the upper sanctuary, but it appears the invitation was short-lived, expiring after the yomim tovim.

The city’s religious council moved into the large building, leaving a large area which the local Belz community has decided can alleviate the crowded conditions in its current small beis medrash.

This launched a fight between chassidus, with Gur announcing it now wants the shul which Belz planned to use. The two seem to have worked it out, at least for now, with Gur planning to use the area accessed from Herzl Street, a smaller area, and Belz using the larger area accessed from the Herzog Street entrance.

The troubles are not over yet. Those who claim to be responsible for the building are not all in favor of the new chareidi tenants, while some are not opposed. Opponents have declared the building is dangerous, due to its age, and therefore, it is being closed, not to be used by Gur or Belz.

Gerrer Chassidim arrived last week and moved in their beis medresh to create facts on the ground in the lower area of the shul in the hope of remaining.

Belzer askanim in Haifa on erev Shabbos announced they will continue davening in the shul, the main shul, stating this past Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh Iyar, would be the first Shabbos of this arrangement, despite objections.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)