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The Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union “Disappointed” by UN Vote


Rabbi Shmuel Goldin

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin

On Friday, Nov 30, the RCA and the OU issued the following statement, criticizing the statement made by Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, and expressing disappointment in the vote that raised the status of the Arab Palestinians to that of nonmember observer state.

The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and the Orthodox Union voice their disappointment in passage of the resolution by the United Nations General Assembly upgrading the Palestinian Authority to a nonmember observer state.

The RCA and OU view this unilateral move by the Palestinian Authority as damaging to the peace process and a violation of the Oslo Accords. They believe that a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians can only come through direct negotiations.

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the RCA, and Dr. Simcha Katz, president of the Orthodox Union, stated:

“Today, at the United Nations, the global community placed peace in the Mideast further out of reach.  Today, the world saw the Palestinians’ president deliver a speech that was filled with hatred and venom against Israel; a man who truly wants peace does not speak this way.    Today, supporters of Israel are grateful to President Obama and his administration, as well as to the Congress of the United States, for their strong efforts to prevent the passage of this resolution, and we thank the other nations who stood with Israel today at the UN.”

 CORRECTION: THE HEADLINE OF THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN CHANGED – THE RABBINICAL COUNCIL OF AMERICA EXPRESSED ITS DISAPPOINTMENT OVER THE UN VOTE TO UPGRADE THE STATUS OF THE PA, NOT THE RABBINICAL ASSEMBLY.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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7 Responses to “The Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union “Disappointed” by UN Vote”

  1. Another announcement from the RCA about an advertiser on the Jewish Press also needs to be heard here is the story.

    The RCA today released a statement saying that, since 2004, its position on Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing, or JONAH, a group which advertises “therapy” to “reverse” homosexuality, had changed, and that it did not endorse its practices.

    According to its website, JONAH is: “the only Jewish based organization dedicated to assisting individuals with unwanted same sex attractions move from gay to straight.”.

    Earlier this week, four gay men in New York filed a lawsuit accusing the New Jersey-based group of falsely offering “conversion therapy”, which was not effective, and should not be advertised as a “cure” for being gay.

    The JONAH website displays a letter from the RCA, written in 2004, claiming it as an endorsement of its practices, however the RCA said it had attempted numerous times to have the letter taken down, as its position had changed, and furthermore that the letter was not actually an endorsement at all.

    Today’s statement from the RCA, which serves 1000 Orthodox Rabbis, read:

    “As rabbis trained in Jewish law and values, we base our religious positions regarding medical matters on the best research and advice of experts and scholars in those areas, along with concern for the religious, emotional, and physical welfare of those impacted by our decisions. Our responsibility is to apply halakhic (Jewish legal) values to those opinions.

    “Despite numerous attempts by the RCA to have mention of that original letter removed from the JONAH website, our calls, letters, and emails remain unanswered.”.

    The statement went on to say that Rabbi Dr Norman Lamm, Chancellor of Yeshiva University and author of the 1974 Encyclopedia Judaica Year Book article, “Judaism and the Modern Attitude to Homosexuality,” had originally commended the work of JONAH, but had changed his stance once negative reports about the practice of “conversion therapy” began to come out.

    This was also mentioned in a 2011 statement by the RCA’s president, Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, in which he said:

    “We want [the letter] taken down. JONAH said it was a letter of support, but if you read the letter it is not. They took an informational statement and reprinted it, and the use of that as an endorsement is an error.”.

    The four men who filed the lawsuit against JONAH attended sessions in Jersey City, and spoke at a press conference in Manhattan on Tuesday about their experiences.

    Some had been told to strip naked, others were asked to take baseball bats to effigies of their mothers. The group advertised in various publications, and claimed to be able to “cure” homosexuality.

    Earlier this year, a state funded Jewish school in North London, JFS, was accused by the Jewish Chronicle of showing students the logo and central message of JONAH. The chief rabbi of Amsterdam was suspended from his position after he signed a document alleging homosexuality could be “modified and healed”.

    It should also be noted that the President and founder of Jonah, Arthur Goldberg has previously been convicted and disbarred for fraud.

  2. Charlie Hall says:

    Who writes JP headlines? This is yet another inaccurate headline that presents a totally misleading view of an accurate article!

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    The article discussed the Rabbinical Council of America, not the Rabbinical Assembly. The Rabbinical Council of America is a group of Orthodox rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly is a group of Conservative rabbis. The Orthodox Union is a group of Orthodox congregations.

    FWIW, the Rabbinical Assembly also issued a joint statement with the United Synagogue, a group of Conservative congregations, in opposition to the UN vote:

    http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/story/leaders-conservative-movement-stand-israel-us-against-enhanced-palestinian-status-un?tp=25

  4. Did you read the article ,it clearly states they were disappointed. It sounds like you support the UN decision.

  5. Yossie Bloch says:

    Wow, Charlie, good job catching that. Editing is a lost art.

  6. Mark Pelta says:

    Shmuel…never mind.

  7. Charlie Hall says:

    Take two:

    Shmuel, the Rabbinical Assembly is not mentioned at all in the article.

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