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Thursday, December 18, 2014

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French chief rabbi resigns

Tags: International
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Gilles Bernheim

PARIS — France’s chief rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, beset by a plagiarism scandal, has resigned.

Rabbi Bernheim, 60, announced his decision April 11 during an emergency meeting with the Consistoire, the Jewish religious services body that employs him.

Until a new election is organized, the chief rabbi of Paris, Michel Guggenheim, and the director of France’s rabbinical school, Rabbi Olivier Kaufmann, will fill the vacancy.

Rabbi Bernheim, who has served as chief rabbi of France since 2008, has been plagued over the past few weeks by a scandal in which it was revealed he committed several instances of plagiarism in two of his books and in an essay against gay marriage published last year.

He was also accused of not correcting his official biographies, which say he holds a degree in philosophy that he never actually earned.

After initially denying one accusation, Rabbi Bernheim acknowledged his “serious mistakes” on April 9 in an interview with the Paris-based Radio Shalom.

Rabbi Bernheim had said he would not resign, arguing that a resignation would be a “desertion” and an “act of pride."


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