By Montreal Jewish News Staff
Cantor Shmuel Levin left the country last month highly in debt according to sources close to the situation who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.
The former Cantor of the Adath Israel Poale Zedek Synagogue fled town with outstanding debts to his landlord, his daughter’s school and members of the congregation who co-signed or underwrote his automobile, cell phone and other services. One congregant was left with hundreds of dollars of parking fees after Levin abandoned his car in the valet parking area of Trudeau International Airport.
The congregants left holding the bag have decided to not come forward publicly as they do not wish to escalate the situation.
In a series of Youtube videos, Levin has accused Adath Israel Poale Zedek Rabbi Michael Whitman of corruption for falsely claiming expenses that Levin says are not “synagogue related”.
Levin was employed by the synagogue for four years, his contract was terminated and his employment ended on June 30th, 2016. He had been contracted and given a deposit by The Beth Ora Synagogue in Ville St Laurent to conduct high holiday services for 2017, but his ability to fulfill that contract is now in doubt as an arrest warrant has been issued for him by the Montreal Police.
Levin claims that he ‘found’ an expense file and has been exposing the receipts on his Youtube channel. The synagogue contends that he stole the file and has committed extortion in demanding that the synagogue pay a large sum of money for his silence.
Dr, Peter Safran, the President of the congregation told Bnai Brith Canada that “Despite our generosity and sincerity since his departure, Mr. Levin has made several threats against our synagogue, in particular against Rabbi Michael Whitman and against his involvement in the planned Federation CJA Mega Mission in Spring 2017,”
Safran told Bnai Brith Canada that Levin “admitted to have stolen from our synagogue, unless we agreed to pay him an exorbitant sum of money. The Adath has not and will never succumb to such blackmail, and we refused Mr. Levin’s demand for payment in exchange for his silence. Mr. Levin has thus released stolen information to the public in a misguided effort to extort money and tarnish the reputations of the Adath and of Rabbi Whitman. We categorically deny the allegations of Mr. Levin, who is quite simply a disgruntled former employee. We will continue to assist the police and relevant judicial authorities in their investigation of Mr. Levin’s conduct in every way possible.”
Levin denies the extortion charges claiming that the synagogue misunderstood the intention of his letters. He told Bnai Brith Canada “I am doing what I’m doing for the sake of the community. What I also care about are truth and justice, and I will never stop pursuing what I believe to be right, fair and just, no matter what the personal consequences might be.”