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An Open Letter to Sarah Silverman

I wouldn't be writing these words had your most recent video not been framed in biblical language. Its title held deep significance to me, as I am sure was your intention... I believe I have your number...

Comix Grand Opening 2006

Dear Sarah,

You have grown political as of late, and your politics have traction. Your YouTube video “Let My People Vote” has been viewed more than 1.4 million times. You have 3.4 million Twitter followers apparently eager to consume your mix of sexual references and political barbs.

I wouldn’t be writing these words had your most recent video not been framed in biblical language. Its title held deep significance to me, as I am sure was your intention.

Your name is Silverman. My name is Rosenblatt. We both have Jewish ancestors; I am not sure what else we share. You are good at what you do – comedy – and I try to be good at what I do – being a husband, dad, rabbi, and manufacturer of kosher meat. My wife and I are blessed with six children and my day is spent earning for the brood.

You stand out among comedians because your comedy is sharper than theirs. It is crude and clever, simple and punishing; your perception of the human condition is acute, which is why your punch lines bite deeper and hurt longer. You have a knack for finding faults and inconsistencies in people and blowing them wide open with carefully plotted language and cleverly nuanced pauses.

If I were to be gratuitous, I would say you mock what is imperfect because you know what perfect should look like and you seek the ultimate perfection.

But I won’t be so gratuitous. You are in show biz. I am in the rabbi biz. You entertain people. I serve people. I believe I have your number. You will soon turn 42 and your destiny, as you stated, will not include children. You blame it on your depression, saying you don’t want to pass it on to another generation.

I find that confusing, coming from someone as perceptive as you are in dissecting flawed arguments. Surely you appreciate being alive and surely, if the wonder of your womb were afflicted with your weaknesses and blessed with your strengths, it would be happy to be alive, too.

You said you wouldn’t get married until gay people can. Now they can. And you still haven’t married. I think, Sarah, that marriage and childrearing are not in the cards for you because you can’t focus on building life when you spend your days and nights tearing it down.

You have made a career making public that which is private, making crude that which is intimate, making sensual that which is spiritual. You have experienced what traditional Judaism taught long ago: when you make sex a public thing it loses its potency. When the whisper is replaced with a shout there is no magic to speak about. And, in my opinion, Sarah, that is why you have had trouble forging a permanent relationship – the most basic desire of the feminine soul.

Human beings have many acquaintances and fewer friends, but only one spouse. Judaism celebrates the monogamous, intimate relationship with a spouse as the prototype of the intimate relationship with God. Marriage, in Judaism, is holy. Family, in Judaism, is celebrated. But for you, nothing is holy; in your world, nothing is permanent. Your ideology is secular. Your culture may be Jewish, but your mind is not.

I think you have latched on to politics because you are searching for something to build. There is only so much pulling down one can do without feeling utterly destructive. You want to fight for a value so you take your belief – secularism – and promote it. As an Orthodox rabbi, I disagree with just about everything you say, but respect your right to say it. All I ask, respectfully, is that you not use traditional Jewish terminology in your efforts. Because doing so is a lie.

Nothing you say or stand for, Sarah, from your sickening sexual proposal to a Republican donor to your equally vulgar tweet to Mitt Romney, has the slightest thing to do with the most basic of tenets which Judaism has taught the world – that the monogamous relationship is the most meaningful one and that a happy marriage is the key to wholesomeness.

You are driven. You are passionate. I pray that you channel your drive and direct your passion to something positive, something that will make you a better and more positive person, something that will allow you to touch eternity and truly impact the world forever. I pray that you pursue marriage and, if you are so blessed, raise children.

About the Author: Yaakov Rosenblatt, the author of two books, is a rabbi and businessman in Dallas.

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890 Responses to “An Open Letter to Sarah Silverman”

  1. Hey Rabbi Idiot: Is your wife allowed to go to a minion or sit at the front if a bus or choose between abortion or birth. Take your false god and shove god up your judgmental ass. Check your wonderful bible and learn about your cruel god from a book you believe in literally.


    Donald Silverman

  2. Lori Zibel says:

    Wow. Dude, seriously take a chill pill. Sarah Silverman is the ultimate lawl cat and if you don't think so – don't listen to /watch her material. Poeple need to learn how to take a joke.

  3. Beryl Cohen says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow, does Sarah really need her dad to come to her defense, against a rabbi no less? How embarrassing for her! Did she give you her permission to speak in her name, insulting Judaism and all those who believe in God and treasure the Torah? All for her? Or are you just trying to capitalize on her success (if she really is your daughter)?

    Take your own judgmental ass back to your godless freaks, with their tired, debunked, simplistic biblical criticism. Why is it that so many self-identified atheists are obsessed with religion? Are you a form of parasite?

  5. Hey *******: Daughter #1 is a rabbi. Not by your standards. She's reform. How dare she, a lowly woman think god wants her to be a rabbi, created from a mere rib. Her hubby, three times nominated for a nobel peace prize was listed by the Jerusalem Post as the 49th most influential jew in the world built the worlds largest solar field in israel. By the way, Sarah was also on the list. I missed your name. Oldest granddaughter is serving in the Israel Defense Forces. I'm sure you also served.Oh I forgot the orthodox don't do that. You don't **** with my family.

  6. Joe L. Suttie says:

    Thank You Rabbi Rosenblatt.
    And Please Forgive The Hatrers (Fathers Too).
    They Are Trapped By Some Little godlet And Can't Get Up.

    May The Living God Of Abraham, Isaac And Jacob.
    Bless His Beloved Israel And The U.S.A. Too
    And Even Angry Dads Defending.
    The Indefensible

    With Love

    And May The LORD God Almighty Bless The IDF.
    The Home Of The Fighting Jew.
    And Bless Those Who.
    Love Them

  7. Joe L. Suttie says:

    Donald Silverman, Great Job~!

    May You Be Blessed Beyond All Expectations
    Now And Forever, Amen

    As For Me

    "Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips." Psalms 141:3

  8. Mr. Donald Silverman, you have undermined anything you might say somewhat intelligently (it was not) by starting off your rant with slanderous filth. Rabbi Rosenblatt was respectful, discreet, and candid about the insult flung about in the name of entertainment by a very sad, little woman who is ashamed of her heritage. Rabbi Rosenblatt is not a self appointed prophet to answer your bone-headed questions about why your daughter cannot sit in on a minyan. He is the keeper of the Faith, not the Creator. Take up your issues with God and the thousand of Rabbis and scholars who preserved this Tradition so that you, in all your arrogance, can bad-mouth all that it stands for. A Jewish army? A Jewish State? Redundant, obsolete, a lost dream, a wisp of smoke (over the ashes of the millions who've died, in Europe, Spain, North Africa, and the Middle East) were it not for our little yidd-lach who may have offended you by discounting women in a minyan, but who wholeheartedly respect, accept and encourage so much flourishing, stunning in volume, learning of the Law by women. Funny thing, that is. The more you learn, the more you respect, the more you can really be included, not in a minyan, but in the golden line of jewish scholars who uphold the Faith. Man or woman. Think on it, and please, try to keep your language clean no matter how angry you may be.

  9. Need I even remind you that not only do Orthodox men AND women serve in the IDF, they serve in the elite units, the fighting units, because they have the Vision of a Jewish nation in the Land given by God, destined for us. You and me, both.

  10. Donald, Wish you would address the issues I raised instead of calling me names. It would be an interesting dialogue. Cordially, Yaakov

  11. Anonymous says:

    Donald Silverman Who wants to **** with your family? We just don't want you, sewer mouth, sewer mind, infecting this space with your pathology. And no, you cannot use the achievements of your family members as an excuse for your own disgusting language and behavior.

    As for Rabbi Rosenblatt, he has a right (even an obligation, as an established authority within the Jewish community) to defend the Jewish faith against slander. His point is that Sarah was lying. She was misrepresenting Judaism to her audience. I would go further and say that she was exploiting her Judaism, smearing it for personal gain. But the bottom line is, she's a public figure. Criticism goes with the territory, and she didn't get where she is by being thin-skinned (with you as a father, how could she have been?) Nevertheless, as Roni Joy Schwartz pointed out above, the rabbi was respectful and discreet, unlike you, butthead.

  12. Jeff Mandell says:

    Does Sarah need her Dad to defend her? Absolutely not.

    But that's what good dads do. If anyone spoke that way about my daughter, I would do the same damn thing.

  13. Jeff Mandell says:

    Yaakov – my Hebrew school teacher taught me that a Jew is a Jew is a Jew. Eichmann never asked how Jewish someone was before he sent them to the gas chamber.

    I know that the concept of love is foreign to your kind of Jews, but for the rest of us, it's kinda important before you commit to marrying someone.

    So keep it to yourself and may your poor, many children break from "tradition" and actually love someone before breeding.

  14. Gila Weiss says:

    I don't know-I found the rabbi's article rather off putting. You know-if you were a REAL woman, you would find a guy, pop out some babies and this will solve all your problems.

    First, not all women want. Second, plenty of twisted and ****ed up moms out there.

    He really did come across misigynist.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Gila Weiss I completely agree! It was very condescending toward women, i.e. the line, "a permanent relationship [is] the most basic desire of the feminine soul." I don't think anyone here would deny that the rabbi has traditional (misogynist) attitudes toward women. And that he's too young to be so arrogant and old-fashioned. But personally I think the vulgarity of Donald Silverman's insults is demeaning to all Jews. What good does it do to denounce the bible and say 'shove god up your ass'?

  16. Gila Weiss says:

    I don't know Ms. Silverman and am utterly unfamiliar with her work. However, speaking as a 42 year old single, childless woman, and having friends who share this demographic, I cannot help but ask myself if this status is difficult for Sarah Silverman as it is for my friends and I? Yes, sometimes G-d gives us what we ask for. And sometimes we ask, and the answer is "no". For that matter, G-d also creates people who really don't want marriage and/or children, and who have the strength and good sense to acknowledge that, rather than going along with the flock and popping out some unwanted children because "hey, that's what you are supposed to do". I know people like that as well. In either case, based on the rabbi's article, it appears that Ms. Silverman is either making the best of a tough situation or has decided that, if she does not wish to go down the family route, she is going to dedicate some of her time, her energy and her fame to something bigger than herself. I may not agree with her politics, but either of the above is worthy of respect, not scorn.

    As for Mr. Silverman's language… I'm a big fan of the F-bomb myself. :) And if you don't get caught up in the language and understand his anger, the man has a point. He has two successful daughters-one of whom is a rabbi and the other is using her status as an entertainer to try to change the world- and some self-appointed expert writes a public missive chock-full of personal insults? And perhaps (really reaching–again–I don't know the first thing about Ms. Silverman) saying things that are extraordinarily painful for her? Or at least extremely annoying, intrusive and disrespectful. (If I have one more random person come up and extol the virtues of having children solo, I am going to go postal).

    In a nutshell, I am biased. But I would like to think that if someone were to attack me in such a manner (and based on the standards of our esteemed religious leader, I am worthy of such an attack), my father would be angry too.

    Now, suppose that the rabbi written an article explaining why he disagreed with Sarah Silverman's politics, her comedic style or with her use of biblical imagery in her political message, but he was able to base this on, say, actual arguments? In short, had he addressed her as an equal–as a person who is entitled to an opinion–as opposed to some desperate female who is mentally unbalanced by her single, childless state, that would be different. I suspect her father's reaction would have been different and if not, his anger would be inappropriate.

    As for the religious serving or not serving–last time I checked, the issue of the Haredim not serving was a major issue around here.

  17. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Check out the new poll on Sarah Silverman: http://www.jewishpress.com/the-poll/.

  18. Ivan Rott says:

    Rabbi Rosenblatt,

    I can't understand why you would criticize Sarah Silverman for "making crude that which is intimate", all the while penning an article specifically aimed to attack the reason(s) why Sarah has chosen not to have children: at it's very core, this is a serious and "intimate" decision on her part. Sarah's humor may be vulgar and, yes, divisive. Some people like it, some people don't. But I'm deeply saddened to witness you, a rabbi, being far more divisive. Sarah's aim is to shake up cultural norms, for better or for worse. Your aim is to divide the Jewish community by condemning Sarah for her political views and her choice not to bear children. What is your motive? Recognition? If you truly cared for Sarah's spiritual well-being, you would have tried to contact her directly and make your plea privately and not, as you've done, to make a public mockery of a very sensitive and private issue.

    Ask yourself, rabbi: Why are you being so divisive? Why are you being so vindictive? One might think Sarah Silverman offended you directly on a personal level. After all, you've retorted with a cruel, personal attack of your own. I would hope and expect that your number one priority, as a rabbi and community leader, would be to continue the proud Jewish tradition of "being a light unto the nations." Instead, you've presented yourself as nothing but a big joke. And it's not even funny.

    Finally: Please don't jump into the political foray, rabbi. It's unbecoming of your title.

    Thank you.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Gila Weiss I think the rabbi did try to explain what he found offensive about Sarah's routine; I think he was trying to say that being Jewish is part of Sarah's act, so her vulgarity is perceived to some extent as a reflection on the religion and that's not fair. But I can only guestimate his POV, because, frankly, the rabbi is not a very good writer! Which is why Donald Silverman's attack of him seems even more vicious, because Donald is a writer!

    Anyone who had spent any time at all crafting a piece of writing could not help but see that the rabbi really struggled to write this letter. And that he was very distraught. And that he bravely put himself at risk, going public with his reproach, because the issue is so important to him. And he did address Sarah as an equal, or tried to. He complimented her intelligence and wit, he deferred to her worldly influence and success – even though he hates what she stands for! That he lapsed into a misogynist rant is unfortunate, but, more than anything, it really pointed out his powerlessness.

  20. Woody Schulz says:

    wait a minute? did you say: "a permanent relationship is the most basic desire of the feminine soul"? Are we a bit misogynetic today, Sir?

  21. Anton Shmerkin says:

    Issues? By all means. Essentially, according to the good rabbi, the only issue here is "go marry, breed and stop using excerpts from "The Guide" (reference to Seinfeld, sorry, couldn't help it) in your comedy". Why should she? Rabbi has an answer to that as well: it's your heritage, your calling, your mitzvah. Right. Well, I guess rabbi assumes that since the Universe is better served by him breeding rug rats and slicing cows the right way, Sarah has to do her part too. As just about any other cleric before him, he knows. He is in the know. He possesses the knowledge which we do not simply because he likes reading old books and we use cell phones on Saturday. "Let My People Go", really? For God's sake, its a SONG TITLE! A collection of letters! However, the story in Exodus, although just as entertaining as the old Loui Armstrong's tune, is not too flattering for Moses and God. Exodus 4:21: "…The Lord said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go". Why won't God allow the Pharaoh to let the Jews go before he has a chance to kill a ****load of Egyptians, including their firstborn? Simple. Unless I kill and devastate, people won't believe in me. And you mean to tell me that this is the kind of moral fiber Sarah has to munch on? All due respect, **** that noise!

  22. Donald Silverman, You are awesome! Who cares how closely these ass hats follow Torah or Talmud if they don't show other humans love and respect? Hypocritical? Obviously. Your family is amazing and you must be swelling with pride! Don't ever let judgmental lemmings get you down!

  23. When I clicked on the link, I thought I was going to be reading an Onion article. And it was only about half way through that I realized it wasn't.

    Seriously Mr. Rosenblatt, what were you thinking?

    Sarah is funny as hell, and an activist for great causes. You, on the other hand, appear to me a holier-than-thou douchebag.

    Judge not, lest you be judged is in some book I suspect you have read.

    In my "judgement" Sarah is awesome, and you are a twerp fighting out of your league.

    Stick with the man in the sky stuff, and leave the real world to the better grounded. You know, like Sarah?

  24. Discreet? I'm not sure you know what that word means.

  25. Although I don't think Donald Silverman was right to bash traditional Judaism or Orthodox Jews (of whom he is clearly ignorant as we disproportionately serve in IDF combat units), this piece is basically a sucker punch by Rabbi Rosenblatt. Sarah Silverman's work is fair game, but a long screed about her not getting married is way out of line. As a parent I have sympathy for Donald.

  26. I'm a non-believer and a non-Jew — and I have to agree with the rabbi.
    I don't know Sarah Silverman, and I realize that her character is not really supposed to be her. But I watched 2-3 episodes of her show when it started. Her character was such an unpleasant, callous jerk that I couldn't stand having her in the same room.
    It was also not funny.
    And what's bad about seeking a permanent relationship? Is that worse than seeking money, power, and hundreds of casual partners, as men often do?

  27. Chaim Reich says:

    Now that we have seen her father's comments, one can't blame Sarah Silverman for her vulgarity. She comes upon it honestly.

  28. Chaim Reich says:

    Now that we have seen her father's comments, one can't blame Sarah Silverman for her vulgarity. She comes upon it honestly.

  29. Chaim Reich says:

    Now that we have seen her father's comments, one can't blame Sarah Silverman for her vulgarity. She comes upon it honestly.

  30. Chaim Reich says:

    Now that we have seen her father's comments, one can't blame Sarah Silverman for her vulgarity. She comes upon it honestly.

  31. Chaim Reich says:

    Now that we have seen her father's comments, one can't blame Sarah Silverman for her vulgarity. She comes upon it honestly.

  32. Chaim Reich says:

    Now that we have seen her father's comments, one can't blame Sarah Silverman for her vulgarity. She comes upon it honestly.

  33. Chaim Reich says:

    Now that we have seen her father's comments, one can't blame Sarah Silverman for her vulgarity. She comes upon it honestly.

  34. Yori Yanover says:

    Why is it misogynistic to repeat a truth which is stated by every chick flick since the inception of Hollywood? He didn't say it's the obligation of every woman to marry, he said it's the natural inclination. Do you believe that womb thing is an extra appendage in there for storage? Women are hard wired to be wives and mothers — and two centuries of emancipation have not managed yet to beat it out of them.

    Again — the planet is full of fine women who opt not to marry and give birth, and they're within their rights. But what a waste.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I came expecting something amusing, but came away sad. I mean, how does someone place an op-ed in a paper where the only argument is an ad hominem?

    I mean, I expect that some Orthodox curmudgeons (i.e. The Editorial Board) find misogyny with a reactionary spirit edifying. But I'm shocked that the same have such a low low opinion of the intelligence and education of its readers.

  36. Shahaf John Klein says:

    if you do not agree with the autor of this letter you have the right to voice that opinion but why are the degrading name calling? why don't you ask yourselves is the reason you don't agree is it ignorance?

  37. Shahaf John Klein says:

    if you do not agree with the autor of this letter you have the right to voice that opinion but why are the degrading name calling? why don't you ask yourselves is the reason you don't agree is it ignorance?

  38. Shahaf John Klein says:

    if you do not agree with the autor of this letter you have the right to voice that opinion but why are the degrading name calling? why don't you ask yourselves is the reason you don't agree is it ignorance?

  39. Farmer Jim says:

    me Oooh, big words from an anonymous commenter. Pesonally I don't care that much for Silverman's comedy, but that's no excuse for this rabbi's pathetic attempt to latch on to her bully pulpit via some barstool psychology. I suggest you and your rabbi work to convince the orthodox in Israel to stop making secular Jews die for them in the army while they dodge the draft in order to study the Talmud.

  40. What a great idea — pressuring someone to become a parent when they tell you flat-out that they don't want to.

    Good thing this is 2012, and Sarah (as well as all women) can disregard your presumptuous opinion. These days, we can decide what makes us happy and pursue that, rather than having religious leaders decide it for us.

    Go Sarah (and "crude" girls everywhere)!

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