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Sharp raises concern

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-04-24

Philip Sharp

Philip Sharp

A BBC documentary that looks at the lifestyle of a former messianic 'rabbi' and his seven 'wives' that has been written about in various national media has raised concern with The Board of deputies of British Jews.

According to reports in various media including The Times and the Daily Telegraph, Philip Sharp operated his own messianic congregation and seven years ago claims he had a number of visions, two of which was that he should become a Hebrew king and have more than one wife.

The BBC4 programme, Storyville: Philip And His Seven Wives is due to be shown on Tuesday having alredy been screened at a number of film festivals.

The Board, through a statement, says readers of the articles on the 'rabbi' shouldn't be confused into believing that his lifestyle represents any part of Jewish life in the UK.

"As far as The Board is aware Philip Sharp has no recognised rabbinical training or ordination, and therefore no right to be called rabbi.  His lifestyle, with multiple female partners, is inconsistent with contemporary Jewish custom and practice," the Board said.

It added: "The British Jewish Community does not regard messianic groups, such as Jews for Jesus, and Sharp’s Shema Israel congregation as Jewish.  They play no part in organised Jewish life in this country."