Photo Credit:
Chief Rabbi David Lau.

Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau criticized the visit of Minister of Education and Chairman of the Bayit Yehudi party Naftali Bennett to Conservative congregations in the United States and said that it is clear the minister did not consult with a rabbi about those visits.

According to Rabbi Lau, “The visit constitutes a recognition of congregations that are dangerous to the future of the Jewish nation.”

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Rabbi Lau told religious Radio Kol Khai regarding Conservative congregations:

We must continue to educate Jews and explain to them the true values ​​of Jewish tradition and the nation of Israel. Don’t forget, in almost every Jewish family you’ll find a religious grandfather, an ultra-Orthodox grandfather, or even a grandfather who is a rabbi. You will not find a lot of families with a Conservative grandfather.

That is, in the end, when we talk about the future, Orthodoxy is the way.

Rabbi Lau said that in his opinion “the Conservatives are certainly Jews but, again, not because of their moral identity. We must tell them clearly: If you continue in this way, you will lose your children and your grandchildren.”

Rabbi Lau opposed Bennett’s visit to a Conservative School and said, “we should ask Bennett if he consulted with a rabbi before this meeting and I very much fear that he didn’t, [and] this behavior is unacceptable to the entire [nation of] Israel. When you speak to a general audience, of course you’re not going to ask whether everyone in the audience is Orthodox, but to plan in advance an appearance before a certain audience and legitimize its path, when this path removes Jews from the Jewish way, it is forbidden.”

The rabbi continued:

If Minister Bennett were to ask my opinion ahead of his visit, I would have told him clearly that ‘you can’t go to a place where the education removes Jews from the tradition, from the past and from the future of the Jewish nation.’

The Office of Minister Bennett’s responded in a statement saying: “Minister Bennett believes public leaders in Israel should bring Jews in, not ostracize them, and is strongly opposed to statements that keep hearts away rather than bring them closer. We are now in a state of emergency for Diaspora Jews, when assimilation reaches millions of Jews.

“As someone who is responsible for the diaspora issues in the Israeli government, Minister Bennett is proud to care for each and every Jew wherever they are, and will continue to meet with every Jew, no matter their denomination.”

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21 COMMENTS

  1. I was happy to read that former Chief Rabbi Lau's son was following him as Chief Rabbi, but his comment about Minister Bennett's visit to a US Conservative school tells us he is totally out of touch with the American Jewish community. Ignoring non Orthodox Jews isn't going to do anything positive for the whole community here or its connection or identification with Judaism or otherJews.
    Too bad.

  2. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, for one, would approve of this visit, as he himself did and does the same. So the good Chief Rabbi Lau (and I mean that sincerely) means Orthodox rabbis that agree with Chief Rabbi Lau on this would not allow the visit. I’m not sure how you explain the importance of Torah education and encourage halachic observance to families who don’t go to Orthodox shuls and schools already, if you don’t go to the places where they are, but I’m sure Rabbi Lau has that all worked out. I, for one, would love to hear his plan.

  3. A conservative Jewish Day School is about the most positive place to visit. For Orthodox Jews in the US, it is a given that they will give their kids a Jewish education; for Conservative Jews, it is an affirmative act that they want their kids to stay Jewish.

    The chief rabbi of Israel can live in his illusory dalet-amot, but he certainly has no concept of reality, particularly in the US

  4. Such hatered for another Jew just because they elect to practice differently then us is just plain wrong. Have you not learned from our past of basless hatred for one another, is why we are in galut and have Rabbinic Jewdaism instead of what whe had in the time of the bait ha meldosh! And no I am not a conservative practicing Jew I am Shomer Shabbat and Mitzvot.

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