Rabbi Says Synagogue Fired Him For Welcoming Nonwhite Members

The rabbi of a Modern Orthodox synagogue in the New York suburb of Yonkers is filing an anti-discrimination complaint against his own synagogue board, alleging that they punished him for welcoming nonwhite families to the synagogue.

Rabbi Rigoberto Emmanuel Vinas filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Lincoln Park Jewish Center, the synagogue he joined in 2003. “Racist members employed subterfuge and sabotage against not only Rabbi Vinas but new Latino and African American members,” the complaint read. “They have attacked any biracial or nonwhite member as ‘not really Jewish.’”

Vinas, who is a Sephardic Jew of Cuban descent,claims that a synagogue board member told him “Wouldn’t it be terrible if the darkies took over the synagogue?” and that others spread rumors that he was trying to turn the congregation “Spanish.”

He also claims that the synagogue board cut his salary, docked his pay and forced him to sell his residence in retaliation for his efforts at racial diversity.

The suit was first reported by the New York Post. The synagogue did not return a comment request from the newspaper.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter, @DanielJSolomon


Daniel J. Solomon

Daniel J. Solomon is the former Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.

Rabbi Says Temple Fired Him For Welcoming Nonwhites

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Rabbi Says Synagogue Fired Him For Welcoming Nonwhite Members

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