The United Synagogue has instructed its shuls to remove any old siddurim editions that contain an introductory thank you to a convicted child sex abuser.
The 1990 Singer’s Prayer Book (‘Third Centenary’ edition) and the subsequent enlarged and revised versions include a nod to scholar Sidney Greenbaum, who in 1990 pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault against young boys.
In a message to rabbis, rebbetzens, chairs, and administrators, United Synagogue chief executive Jo Grose said the organisation had only recently been informed of Greenbaum’s mention and had now reassured itself of the claim’s accuracy by reviewing a copy of Greenbaum’s sentencing at Hendon Magistrates Court.
Grose urged shuls to review the siddurim on their shelves and, if the offending editions are present, to arrange for their collection or to “cross out the name of Sidney Greenbaum if you have copies which you still need”.
Grose added: “As a convicted child sex abuser, his name has no place in our holy books.”
Novelist Naomi Alderman is on record as having said she was “groomed and abused by a paedophile, Sidney Greenbaum”, adding: “He’s been dead since 1996. It was the best thing he ever did for me, to die.”
Alderman, who recently lost her mother, came into contact with the child sex predator when he worked with her academic father, Prof Geoffrey Alderman, who – like Greenbaum – is an Orthodox Jew.
Jewish News understands that some individual United Synagogue members may still have these editions on their shelves at home, so Grose will include the Greenbaum warning in the next edition of the organisation’s newsletter.
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