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Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam Steps Down

The chief rabbi of Amsterdam, who has seen his authority diminished in recent years, said he will resign in September.

Aryeh Ralbag, a New York native who has held the nonsalaried position since 2005, cited his “inability to combine other work in the United States and Israel with tasks in Amsterdam,” according to a report Sunday in the Nieuw Israelitisch Weekblad, or NIW, a Dutch Jewish weekly.

Ralbag, whose contract expires in 2017, is a co-owner of the U.S.-based Triangle K kosher supervision agency.

In a letter he sent to the Jewish Community of Amsterdam, or NIHS, Ralbag said, “I will no longer have or claim a role in, or be responsible for, the Amsterdam Rabbinate, the Amsterdam Beth Din or the Dutch kashrut authority of the NIK,” the Dutch Israelite Religious Community.

Ralbag has had a tense relationship with his employer, the board of the Jewish Community of the Netherlands. In recent years the board has curbed his authority as disagreements over his role deepened, NIW reported, leaving him responsible for little more than mentoring other rabbis.

Congregants and board members who lobbied not to have his contract extended cited his frequent absence from Amsterdam. Some also worried that his ownership of Triangle K presented a conflict of interest. Ralbag has denied the claims.

In 2012, he was suspended briefly by the board for co-signing the “Declaration On The Torah Approach To Homosexuality.” The document was deemed offensive by some members of the board, including some Reform Jews, because it called on “authority figures” to “guide same-sex strugglers towards a path of healing and overcoming their inclinations.”

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