Brooklyn's Congregation Beth Elohim Lays Off 12 Amid Fiscal Crisis

Posted By on April 3, 2014

Reports: Major Budget Shortfall as Rabbi Andy Bachman Quits By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published April 02, 2014.

Newly discovered accounting errors at Brooklyns Congregation Beth Elohim forced the synagogue to lay off 12 employees in mid-March, synagogue officials say.

The prominent Reform synagogues rabbi, Andy Bachman, also announced in March that he would not renew his contract after it expires next year.

The synagogues president said that Bachmans departure was unrelated to the layoffs.

The full extent of Congregation Beth Elohims financial problems were first reported in the New York Daily News on April 1. The Daily News reported that Beth Elohim had uncovered a major gap between revenue and expenses.

Beth Elohim board president Charles Nathan acknowledged that an internal audit had found a budgetary shortfall.

We were running at a true cash deficit that was not sustainable, Nathan said. We thought we were running at a break-even level.

Beth Elohim executive director Shelley Klein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nathan blamed the accounting mistakes on a flawed system that was miscalculating revenue and expenditures totals. He said that the congregations accounting software was being used incorrectly and that staff had made data entry errors. It was a basic overhaul of our accounting systems thats been ongoing now for six or seven months because we realized the system was out of whack, Nathan said.

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Brooklyn's Congregation Beth Elohim Lays Off 12 Amid Fiscal Crisis

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