A group of leading British rabbis have criticised the Austrian Jewish community for its treatment of a British woman involved in a custody battle with her Austrian ex-husband.
The 18 rabbis have signed a petition in support of Beth Alexander, saying that she had suffered “dreadful and unnecessary pain” since her divorce and that the Austrian Jewish community and rabbinate have “largely shunned her”.
The rabbis said they were disappointed over the lack of support from the community and its leaders.
In 2013, a court in Vienna granted full custody of Ms Alexander’s twin boys to their father, Dr Michael Schlesinger.
A subsequent appeal against the decision was rejected.
The rabbi’s called for the access rights granted by the courts to be observed by Dr Schlesinger.
They wrote: ‘Beth Alexander is a warm, kind-natured and generous person who deserves to play a full and active role in bringing up her children. We hope and pray that the natural maternal love that she has for them will ultimately break through the effects of this disgraceful injustice that she and her children have been forced to endure.’
Signatories to the petition included London rabbis Elchonon Feldman and Meir Salasnik, Rabbi Arnold Saunders of Manchester and Liverpool’s Rabbi Mordechai Wollenberg.