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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘rabbi’

The Rabbi and the Court

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Abu Yehuda}

Some years ago I was in New York for my brother’s wedding. On Shabbat we went to a convenient synagogue (a Chabad shul), and the rabbi held a little study session before the service. The subject was parashat ki tetse, and in particular he talked about the part that explains what you should do when you take a beautiful woman captive in war.

In the context of a world where enslavement and rape of captive women was standard operating procedure, the Torah (Deut. 10.10 – 10.14) demands  a  different form of behavior. Before having relations with her, her captor is required to take her into his house for a month, and not before the end of that time, marry her. She is to cut her nails and hair (presumably to reduce her superficial attractiveness) and is given time to mourn relatives that were killed in the battle. If he later decides that he doesn’t want to marry her, he must set her free; he is not permitted to enslave or sell her.

Possibly this is not a 21st century feminist position, but it was extraordinarily progressive in biblical times. It clearly prevents the use of rape as a weapon, which is unfortunately quite common today in conflicts around the world.

I admit that I don’t remember exactly what the Chabad rabbi said that day, but I’m sure he did not say that the Torah condones rape in wartime, as Rabbi Eyal Karim, the nominee for the post of Chief Rabbi of the IDF has been accused of saying.

Rabbi Karim was asked in 2002 (Hebrew link) whether it was acceptable to rape a non-Jewish woman in wartime. The question clearly referred to “rape” and asked whether the opinion of “some sages” that one could skip the month-long procedure found in the Torah was correct.  The question was clear, but unfortunately Karim’s answer was not. He explained the reasons that war was a special situation, and gave examples of things that were permitted during war – consuming non-kosher food or wine – that were normally forbidden. He continued that relations with non-Jewish women were in this category, under the conditions that they are allowed.

The problem is, what conditions are these? Did he mean the month-long waiting period as prescribed by the Torah? Was he saying that the special situation of wartime was such that a soldier could have relations with a non-Jewish woman – normally forbidden – if he took her home and married her a month later? Or did he mean that the “some sages” who said the waiting period could be skipped were correct? He did not elucidate.

I want to note at this point, that he did not say that a woman could be raped to satisfy the soldiers’ evil inclination, as his statement was maliciously mistranslated by Ynet.

After reading and rereading the question and his answer numerous times, I concluded that his answer was either a boilerplate response that did not speak to the actual question, or a deliberately vague answer to evade a question whose direct answer he knew would be politically unpalatable.

Ten years later (2012), after his remarks were noted and created a furor, he issued a clarification (Hebrew link), in which he at last said unequivocally that rape in battle was forbidden, and referred to the month-long procedure described in the Torah.

Although in the context of the original question, I would have to interpret his initial answer as suggesting that rape in war is in fact permissible, the clarification establishes that either he did not intend this at first, or that does not believe it now.

I must also note that even if he had not issued the clarification, there are other mitigating arguments in his favor. For one, many of the harsh pronouncements in the Torah have been canceled by the rabbis throughout the years; who stones a disobedient son or tortures a woman suspected of adultery today? And there is a difference between biblical exegesis and practical advice: soldiers do not take prisoners of war home and marry them.

Fast forward to July 2016, when Rabbi Karim was selected to become the new Chief Rabbi of the IDF. Objections were raised to his appointment on the basis of this and other statements he made that were deemed misogynistic or biased against sexual-preference or gender minorities. But Karim satisfied (the secular) Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot that his opinions on these subjects were acceptable for an IDF rabbi, and the Defense Minister agreed. After all, we are talking about an Orthodox rabbi, not a social activist.

But that wasn’t enough for the anti-religious Left, as personified by the Meretz party. They petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to stop Karim from being sworn in on Wednesday, and the court agreed and issued an unprecedented injunction delaying his appointment “pending an affidavit from Karim on his past and current views on wartime rape and the role of women in the military.” The Court actually believes it has the right to define and enforce correct thought – in a rabbi no less!

The army acquiesced and canceled the swearing-in ceremony.

The Court, which in essence appoints its own justices and is not accountable to any other body, accepts no limits on what it can adjudicate. It does not require a petitioner to have standing (that is, he or she doesn’t have to be directly affected by the case). In short, anyone, any time, can ask the Court to take action about almost anything. And the Court isn’t shy about taking action.

The Left, having been emasculated at the ballot box, now uses the Court to achieve its aims. Recently it controversially stuck its nose into diverse issues like the proposal to develop offshore natural gas resources, a law to regulate foreign-funded NGOs, and a proposed law to compensate Arabs with claims to land on which parts of Jewish settlements stand. In every case it leaned leftward.

But interfering with the appointment of an IDF rabbi on the basis of his opinions is something new entirely.

Nobody wants to directly challenge the Supreme Court and appear to be opposed to the rule of law and the independent  judiciary, two pillars of democracy. But the Left and their legal allies may have gone too far this time. If the court can interfere in the appointment of a rabbi by the Chief of Staff, what else can it interfere in? Should it have a veto over other military appointments? Next it will decide to replace the Prime Minister!

The State Attorney’s Office said on Tuesday that the Court has no ground on which to intervene in this appointment. But there are no rules except the ones the Court makes for itself.

What is needed is a Basic Law that defines the functions and powers of the Court. Such a law should specify a way of selecting the justices so that they will represent more than one narrow ideological segment of Israeli society. It must include appropriate checks and balances so that the Court can’t become a dictator in the name of democracy.

This should happen soon, because our system is already suffering from Court-induced paralysis.

Vic Rosenthal

Rabbi Eliyahu Permits Desecrating Shabbat to Shoot Arab #PyroTerrorists

Friday, November 25th, 2016

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tsfat, on Friday posted on his Facebook page a ruling permitting desecration of Shabbat in order to shoot Arabs who appear to be in the middle of starting a fire.

The inquiry was: “If on Shabbat (or a weekday) one sees Arabs approaching a forest near our community and intend to or are in the process of setting fire to it, is it permissible to desecrate Shabbat in order to stop them, call police and/or shoot them.”

Rabbi Eliyahu’s response was: “The Prime Minister has defined arson as an act of terrorism. One GSS senior official called it a weapon of mass destruction. By a miracle people have not been burned alive, but we are not supposed to rely on miracles.

“Surely it is permitted and commanded to desecrate Shabbat in order to stop the fire and the arsonists, and if need be – shoot them as well.

“If in Beit Meir, Carmiel, or Haifa they had shot the arsonists, we would have been spared this catastrophe.

“I hope that the IDF Chief of Staff and the Police Commissioner will issue clear orders to soldiers, police officers and civilians which reflect the fact that these acts of arson continue – because it is their responsibility.”

In 2010, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, son of the late former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Mordechai Eliyahu, urged Jewish residents of Tsfat not to rent or sell homes to Arabs, resulting in calls for his suspension, as well as for his prosecution on grounds of racial incitement. Meanwhile, some 40 Israeli municipal chief rabbis signed a letter in support of Rabbi Eliyahu’s ruling. Hey argued that anyone who rents to Arabs “inflicts a great loss on his neighbor, and his iniquity is greater than can be borne.” The chief rabbis ruled that “it is incumbent upon the seller’s neighbors and acquaintances to warn and caution, first in private and then they are entitled to publish it for public knowledge, to distance themselves from him, to prevent trade with him, not to give him aliyahs and so forth, until he reverses his decision that causes harm to so many people.”

A consequent police investigation of the racism accusations against Rabbi Eliyahu ended in 2012 without an indictment.

David Israel

When the Arabs Surrendered Hebron: Rabbi Goren Recalls How He Reclaimed the Cave of the Patriarchs

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

The Torah reading this Shabbat, Parashat Hayyei Sarah, details Abraham’s purchase of Ma’arat HaMachpela in Hebron. In light of the political climate regarding jurisdiction over Hebron, it is worthwhile to read Rabbi Shlomo Goren’s firsthand account of the battle to reclaim Hebron and the Arabs’ surrender to the Israel Defense Forces. At the time, Rabbi Goren served as a general and the Chief Rabbi of the Israeli army. In his autobiography, With Might and Strength, Rav Goren recalls the excitement of and hurdles to being the first Jew to open the gates of the Maarah in more than a thousand years.
***

I decided to be there when the IDF liberated Hebron. I thought there would be a big battle, like there had been everywhere else, because if the legion had fought for Bethlehem, they would fight even harder for

Hebron, which was a large city. I reached Gush Etzion at 1:30 a.m. There were armored corps units, a company of jeeps, infantry, and all the otherforces that we would need, except for the air force.

 

Lt. Col. Tzvika Ofer and the forces with him were planning to set out toward Hebron at six o’clock in the morning.

As part of the preparations for going into battle, I asked the commander if I could speak with the soldiers. He answered in the affirmative and said he would assemble his entire brigade at three o’clock in the morning. At the appointed hour, the soldiers assembled on a small hill near the vehicles and the commander handed me a megaphone. This is what I said to the soldiers:

 

Dear soldiers, today we liberated our nation’s Holy of Holies   in Jerusalem – the Temple Mount and the Kotel.  Tomorrow, we are going to liberate the second-holiest city in Eretz Yisrael. You are going to liberate the Jewish people’s city of the patriarchs, which is the foundation of the Kingdom of David. King David ruled for seven years in Hebron before he ruled in Jerusalem. You are going to fight against the worst and wildest murderers. They carried out the pogroms all over the country and killed 164 fighters right here, where we are now, after they surrendered and laid down their arms. There is no absolution for that! Know how to behave with them and in the name of the Lord, take action and succeed, and go from victory to victory! From the victory in Jerusalem and Judea to the victory in Hebron!

 

As dawn approached, the soldiers started organizing for their departure. At 6:00 a.m. I went out onto the road to look for Tzvika Ofer’s battalion, but I didn’t see anyone there. I thought they might already have left, but the line of tanks was still there. I thought that perhaps he had taken the first tank and gone toward Hebron to get there first. I told my driver that we should advance toward Hebron, regardless of what the battalion was doing. There was my vehicle and the Military Rabbinate jeep that escorted us. On the way we met the battalion’s reconnaissance company and passed it. We turned on our vehicle’s siren and everyone let me pass.

Suddenly my driver said, “Rabbi, we’re the first ones here. There are no soldiers ahead of us. The entire brigade is behind us. We could get stuck in Hebron alone, and who knows what they’ll do to us.”

“Drive on,” I told him.

When we drew closer to Hebron, I saw white flags waving over all the houses along the way. I realized that there was no war here. There wasn’t a single Jordanian flag, so there was nothing to fear and no reason to be afraid – we were entering Hebron as victors, without a war and without having fired a single shot.

“There’s a Jordanian flag flying from the third floor of one of the houses,” my driver said as we drove past Ĥalĥul. “They might fire on us.” “Take the Uzi and cover me,” I said. “I’m going up there to take down the flag.”

My driver said they might kill me, so he would go.

“You’re still young,” I told him. “You still have to build a home and a family. I’ve already lived my life. I’ll go up, and whatever happens, happens.”

One of the drivers accompanied me to the second floor, and from there I went up to the third floor. I reached the flag and took it down.

Salaam Alaikum,” I said to the tenants. I took the flag and they didn’t say a word.

We advanced toward Hebron, and when we entered the city we saw that all the houses along the main road were festooned with white sheets, hung from all the balconies. The Hebron municipality and the military forces in Hebron had decided on a self-imposed curfew and ordered that no one leave their homes. I wanted to inform them that the IDF had already conquered Hebron, even though at this stage the IDF force was only me and the jeep.

There was a podium in the middle of the city, where a policeman usually stood, directing the traffic. I mounted the podium, took the Uzi and fired a whole magazine of bullets into the air, to notify the residents of the city that the Israel Defense Forces was inside the city and that we had captured Hebron.

My declared goal had been to be the first to reach the Cave of the Patriarchs. In my mind’s eye I still saw the incident that I told you about – regarding my visit to Hebron back when I was engaged to Tzfia, how we reached this place and the Arabs’ reactions to our arrival, and about the British policeman who suddenly appeared, like the prophet Elijah, and saved our lives.

I saw an Arab boy of about sixteen or seventeen, standing at one of the windows. I called out to him to come down to me.

“Where is the grave of our Avraham Avinu (that’s what the Arabs called the Cave of the Patriarchs)?” I shouted up to him, but he replied that he was afraid to come down because of the curfew; he wouldn’t be able to get back home. I promised him that my driver would bring him back, and the boy agreed to show us.

We reached the site and began to climb the stairs toward the gates on both sides of the building, at the top of the two staircases. I climbed to the top of the staircase on the north side, where everyone prayed, and saw that the gate was locked.

Ifta el-bab!” I shouted in Arabic. “Open the gates!” I heard voices inside.

Mefish maftuah,” they said. “We don’t have a key.”

If they don’t have a key, I thought to myself, how did they get inside? I knew there were people in there, and that the gates were closed from the inside with bolts. They had thirty-six keys, and they were holding onto them. I began firing hundreds of bullets at the gates, but they didn’t budge. To this day you can see the holes I made in the gates, which the Arabs call “Rabbi Goren’s holes.” (Years later, the Arabs tried to fill in the holes so that there would be no trace of our liberation of the Cave of the Patriarchs. I phoned the governor of Hebron and he sent an officer to stop the holes from being filled in.)

For three hours, we tried to break down and open the gates, but without success, until I heard the sound of a tank approaching the site. That was the first tank that entered Hebron, and it was adorned with an improvised flag – a sheet on which the soldiers had drawn a blue Star of David. The soldiers had taken the flag from David’s Citadel. Here’s what had happened:

During the liberation of Jerusalem there was no flag to hang   on David’s Citadel. A Jewish family from England lived nearby, and the wife gave a white sheet to the soldiers and told them they could draw a Star of David on it. At first, this improvised flag was hung on David’s Citadel, and after several hours it was taken down and hung on the tank that would be the first to enter Hebron and reach the Cave of the Patriarchs.

There was a small flagpole on the main gate in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs. We drove the tank up against the wall beside the gate, and from there I climbed up onto the tank’s turret and hung the flag at the entrance to the compound. Many pictures of me hanging that flag were later published in Israel and around the world.

We wanted to break through the gate to the Cave of the Patriarchs. Despite the hundreds of bullets I had fired, we had not managed to dislodge the gate. When the tank arrived, I saw the soldiers had a crow bar. My driver and I put the bar into the gate and worked it off its hinges until the gate fell to the ground and we could enter the Cave of the Patriarchs. We saw two Arabs inside, so scared they were trembling like a lulav, and one of them was holding the dozens of keys to the gate – even though they had shouted to me from inside that they didn’t have any keys. My driver went over to him, took the keys, and we went into the Cave of the Patriarchs, where I blew the shofar.

I took the sefer Torah that I had brought with me and read the weekly portion of Ĥayei Sara, which relates how Abraham bought the Cave of the Patriarchs from the sons of Ĥet. It was still early in the morning and we were able to daven Shaĥarit there. That was the first time, after more than a thousand years, that Jews were inside the Cave of the Patriarchs.

 

We tried to figure out a way of closing the Cave of the Patriarchs so that soldiers would not come and plunder everything that was there – expensive carpets and other valuable items. It was impossible to reinstall the gates after we had forced them off their hinges, because the gates were very heavy. In order to safeguard the site, even temporarily, I called over one of the two Arabs who had been inside and had not allowed us to enter, and gave him a piece of paper on which I had written the following order:“I hereby order any soldier visiting the Cave of the Patriarchs that he not enter without instructions from an officer.”

 

Furthermore, the officer had to sign that if he entered with a group of soldiers, he was responsible for the property in the Cave of the Patriarchs; nothing could be removed and the soldiers must not damage

the carpets or any of the valuables.

 

While we were inside the Cave of the Patriarchs, a messenger arrived from the mayor’s secretary and told us that the mayor wanted to come to the compound to surrender and hand Hebron over to me. I told him that I could not accept his surrender inside such a holy place; he should wait at City Hall and I would come to him. I told him that it was sufficient for a lieutenant colonel to accept the surrender, and that a brigadier general such as myself was not necessary.

By the time we had davened and I had blown the shofar, it was about eleven o’clock in the morning. I decided to go to City Hall to see Mayor Ali Jabari. When we arrived there, the mayor and the qadi of the Cave of the Patriarchs were already there – as were the municipal secretaries and our interpreters and the IDF interpreter who accompanied battalion commander Tzvika Ofer – and they had prepared a statement of surrender in Arabic. I said that until I understood what was written there, we would not sign.

The municipal secretary translated the statement of surrender into English for me, and it did not include anything about unconditional surrender. I tore up the statement and told the secretary, “You write what I tell you, word for word.”

This is what I dictated:

I, Mayor Ali Jabari, on my own behalf and on behalf of the members of the municipality and on behalf of all the residents of Hebron, surrender unconditionally to the commander of the Israel Defense Forces who is in charge of the city, and commit to accepting all the directives I receive from authorized IDF personnel, without objection and without hesitation, and to fulfill them.

 

After he read this in Arabic, I asked the mayor and the qadi to sign the draft and to make a copy of it. I took the first one and signed it. Ali Jabari asked me for a gift, as a memento, and I gave him a copy of the Prayer Before Going into Battle, which I had had printed up in thousands of copies. I signed the back and wrote, “So let all Your enemies perish, O Lord” (Judges 5:31).

 

***

After we completed the surrender ceremony, we discovered that our car had been left unlocked and someone had stolen all the rolls of film of all the photographs we had taken throughout the war.

 

We decided to return to Jerusalem. By then, it was Thursday afternoon. On the way out of Hebron we returned to the Cave of the Patriarchs and I reminded the Arab in charge of the site that until he received different orders from the IDF, any Jew who wanted to enter the Cave of the Patriarchs should be allowed in, but on the condition that an officer accept responsibility for the property – that nothing would be removed or damaged.

 

On the return trip to Jerusalem, we met Moshe Dayan, who was on his way to Hebron. We flagged down his car and I told him about what we had done at the Cave of the Patriarchs, about the statement of surrender and the order I had given to the Arab who was in charge of the compound. Dayan said that I had done well and agreed with everything. He did not object to the fact that we had hung up a flag…

 

As soon as the battles died down on all the fronts, the war was declared over, and we began sending soldiers back home, my thoughts turned to the fate of the Cave of the Patriarchs. I was afraid that Moshe Dayan was planning to return this site to the Muslims. The previous Thursday night, in the middle of the night, I had already decided to take the aron kodesh and the sefer Torah that were in my office at General Staff headquarters and move them into the Cave of the Patriarchs, in order to create a fait accompli. I went there in the middle of the night with my assistants. We opened the gate and installed the aron kodesh and the sefer Torah inside the Cave of the Patriarchs. The qadi must have had a few spies who notified him of our arrival, because at 2:00 a.m. he suddenly turned up at the compound, but he didn’t say a word. He knew very well that I had taken command of the site and there would be no point in challenging me. I told him that I was closing the Cave of the Patriarchs to Arab worshippers for a month, because I was going to bring in the engineering corps to repair and renovate the site. We put all the carpets away in a storeroom in the Cave of the Patriarchs and replaced them with plastic sheeting. I told the Arabs that they could pray in the outer hall, where the Arab women used to pray.

 

At first I wasn’t sure where to set up the aron kodesh. I felt that the largest hall, Ohel Yitzĥak, looked too much like a mosque. There were quotes from the Koran on the walls and a place for the muezzin, and it didn’t feel right to me to hold the regular services at the Cave of the Patriarchs in a place so permeated with symbols from the Koran. I therefore decided to put the aron kodesh in the hall that leads into Ohel Yitzĥak. Even though that hall is smaller, it is more suitable for prayer services. I brought siddurim and Ĥumashim, too, and all the basic furnishings for a synagogue, and I set up the aron kodesh such that it would be clear to all that this was the way it would remain. It was a miracle that I managed to get there in the middle of the night and get everything set up, otherwise, this place would not be under Israeli control today and we would not be able to daven there.

 

A few days later, the Knesset held a festive luncheon that was essentially a victory celebration for all the IDF generals and senior commanders of the Six Day War. In the middle of that event, Moshe Dayan suddenly came over to me and said, “Rabbi Goren, I handed the management of the Cave of the Patriarchs over to the qadi of the Waqf.”

 

I was outraged and astounded that he would do such a thing.

 

“Who gave you the right to do that?” I asked him. “Is it your private property?”

 

“That’s what I decided!” he replied, and said there were three things I had to do (afterward I also received a letter to this effect from the chief of staff, by order of the defense minister): 1. Take down the flag I had hung there, because the site is an Arab mosque and an inappropriate place for the flag; 2. Remove the aron kodesh and the sefer Torah, because the site is not a synagogue for Jewish prayer services; 3. Issue an order that any Jew who wants to go to the Cave of the Patriarchs can go only as far as the seventh stair, and pray there, or if he wants to go inside the Cave of the Patriarchs, he must remove his shoes, because he is entering a mosque.

 

When I heard this, I was so angry that I exploded.

 

“Do you think you can hand over the Cave of the Patriarchs to the Arabs?!” I shouted. “It’s a holy site for the Jewish people! This is the burial place of the fathers and mothers of our nation; this is where the kingship of the House of David began. This is what our soldiers have been fighting for. Who gave you the right to relinquish all that and give it to the Arabs?”

 

I left the luncheon in a rage. Later that day, I went to Dayan’s office and told him, “This cannot go on! I held my peace when you gave the Temple Mount to the Muslim Waqf. I should have raised a hue and cry at that point, and I’m sorry that I didn’t. But this time it won’t happen. The entire Jewish People will curse you forever. You will be the most accursed man in Jewish history if you do this thing. You will go down in history as a terrible disgrace.”

 

I said that to Dayan, and immediately turned around and left his office. He had a habit that when he issued orders that the generals didn’t like and they wanted to meet with him and voice their objections to the orders, he would let them say their piece and not utter a word. After they finished with everything they wanted to say, and were standing by the door, he would tell them, “You will do what I want, and not what you want,” and the generals could not say anything more, because the conversation was over. I did not want him to say that to me, so I just left immediately.

 

I also told him explicitly: “Regarding the aron kodesh and the sefer Torah, I will disobey the order and will not remove them. As for the flag, I won’t fight with you – the flag is no holier to me than to you, and I believe it should stay, but if you send an officer to remove it, I won’t oppose him. Regarding the aron kodesh and the sefer Torah, however, and the matter of removing shoes – I will fight those with all my might and will make sure that anyone who cares deeply about them will fight you over this decision.”

 

In addition to everything I said to Dayan, I also wrote an angry letter, lambasting his decision. I did not hold anything back, and the letter made a difference. [See With Might and Strength for the full text of the letter.]

 

The following day, I received a letter from Chief of Staff Rabin, stating that the defense minister had ordered that the first directive regarding the flag remain in effect, but that the implementation of the other two directives – regarding the removal of the sefer Torah and aron kodesh from the Cave of the Patriarchs, and the requirement for any Jew entering the site to remove his shoes – had been postponed until further notice. My letter had had the desired effect and the decree had been rescinded.

IDF Generals join Rav Goren at entrance to the Cave of the Patriarchs

IDF Generals join Rav Goren at entrance to the Cave of the Patriarchs

 

For more from Rabbi Goren’s autobiography, see With Might and Strength, published by Koren Publications, available online and at your local Jewish bookstore.

Rav Shlomo Goren

Responding to Meretz Petition, State Tells Court Rabbi Karim Does Not Believe in Raping Enemy Women

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

The State on Tuesday responded to a petition served by Meretz against the appointment of Rabbi Eyal Karim as IDF Chief Rabbi, saying the Chief of Staff has picked Karim believing he is the right man at the right time for the job — based on his abilities, knowledge and military background.

Col. Rabbi Eyal Moshe Karim, head of the Rabbinate Dept. at the IDF Military Rabbinate, also served as commander of the paratrooper division’s special forces. In July he was picked by Chief of Staff Gabi Eizenkot to become IDF Chief Rabbi. But then the Israeli media discovered a few “controversial” legal opinions authored by Karim in the online Orthodox news website Kipa. Written as halakhic responsa, Karim’s passages included a reference to the status of a captive enemy woman in time of war, which the Torah deals with from within the socio-political milieu of the second millenium BCE. He also discussed the halakha’s view on women’s military service and on homosexuality.

Needless to say, Karim’s opinions, written some 14 years ago in the context of a discussion involving Orthodox readers, did not go down well with Israeli leftwingers such as Meretz Chairwoman Zehave Galon. Meretz appealed the appointment to the Supreme Court, which suspended it pending an explanation regarding the differences between Israel 3,000 years ago and today.

In its response on Tuesday, the State noted that Rabbi Karim’s responsa were prefaced with a proviso that these are not his legal rulings but rather his review of rabbinical law. Regarding the fact that the Torah permits nonconsenting sex with a captured enemy woman in time of war, the State assured the court that Rabbi Karim does not espouse this as a policy to be followed by IDF soldiers nowadays.

MK Motti Yogev (HaBayit HaYehudi) told Israel Radio on Tuesday that the Supreme Court once again overstepped its boundaries by rudely intervening in IDF appointment decisions. Yogev noted that so far the court has fought the legislative and executive branches and now has added the IDF to its list of targets. Yogev called on his colleagues in the Knesset to find way of stopping the court from uninvited interference in halakhic discussions.

Rabbi Karim is expected to start serving as IDF Chief Rabbi on Thursday, unless the court continues to block his appointment.

David Israel

Rabbi Berland in Court: I Deserve Burning and Stoning for my Sins

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

The Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Tuesday convicted the leader of the Shuvu Banim (Return boys) movement, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, 79, of two counts of indecent assault and one count of assault and sentenced him to 18 months in prison. The conviction follows a plea agreement in which Berland admitted to some of the charges against him in return for a reduced sentence. The time Berland spent in a South African prison will be deducted from his sentence.

In addition, Berland will pay $6,467 in compensations to the women whose complained against him was cited in his indictment, and the same amount to another woman whose complaint was not included.

Before his sentencing, Berland expressed his remorse before the judge, saying that according to Torah law he deserved to be burned and stones for his sins, but “today the times have changed and the punishments have become lighter.” Judge Yaron Mintkevich said he would honor the plea deal, but had it been up to him, in light of the severity of Berland’s crimes, he would have sentenced him separately on every single one of them.

The prosecution cited Berland’s advanced age to justify his exceedingly light sentence.

Several women have reported that Rabbi Berland raped them, others complained of sexual harassment. In 2012, one of Berland’s students discovered him standing over a naked woman at home. Berland’s followers claimed the accusations had been made by the rabbi’s enemies.

Berland fled Israel once the first allegations had been made public, and sought temporary shelter in the US, Italy, Switzerland, and Morocco, where he stayed in Marrakech. In November 2013, Moroccan King Mohammed VI personally ordered Berland’s expulsion, following news report about the allegations against him.

He left for Cairo, Egypt, continued to Zimbabwe, then flew to Johannesburg, South Africa. He then returned to Zimbabwe, and became the spiritual leader of a synagogue in Khumalo. He was expelled after his visa had expired, and returned to Johannesburg.

Dutch police arrested Berland in September, as he was getting off a flight from Johannesburg to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, but he fled and eventually landed back in South Africa.

A few dozen of Berland’s followers demonstrated outside the court on Tuesday and when their leader was being led out of the courtroom they blocked traffic and refused to let the patrol car with him in it leave.

JNi.Media

Thirty-Six Little-Known Admirers of Rabbi Meir Kahane

Friday, November 18th, 2016

As one of the most controversial figures in recent times, Rabbi Meir Kahane’s very name still resonates with many. For those who have taken the time to familiarize themselves with his works, there is but little controversy. But critics are hardly well-versed in Rabbi Kahane’s teachings and thus resort to defamations intended to distract individuals from grappling with issues he raised. An ambiguous quote out of context along with a critique of supposed followers (who hardly represent Rabbi Kahane’s path), often suffices for the majority of his critics. Yet, even on the most controversial of issues, many would be surprised to learn just how Rabbi Kahane’s teachings differ from their current perceptions.

Unfortunately, Rabbi Kahane did not merit to have a strong public backing, for he sought the cold, bitter truth in its stead. Thus, often, rabbis would express support privately while loathing to do so publicly. Some, due to public pressure, went so far as to condemn his activism while privately pledging support or seeking his aid when trouble arose. But away from the spotlight, many mainstream Orthodox Jewish leaders have had a higher regard for Rabbi Kahane than most would imagine. While few voiced this admiration, a number of great men did – though the public is, for the most part, unaware. That is not to say that all his views had been fully supported by each of these figures, but that he earned their admiration despite any differences.

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Torah, was consulted by Rabbi Kahane on a number of occasions regarding Jewish legal decisions. In one such instance, after Rabbi Auerbach had ruled against Rabbi Kahane in two separate monetary cases, the former was stunned to see Rabbi Kahane return for his ruling on a third case. Rabbi Auerbach remarked to his students that he was so impressed with Rabbi Kahane’s humility in accepting his rulings despite the losses incurred, that it served as a powerful influence on him.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Rosh Yeshiva of Ateret Kohanim, served as keynote speaker at an event in Rabbi Kahane’s honor. He stated that Rabbi Kahane was a righteous man who displayed self-sacrifice for the Jewish nation and was murdered for the sanctification of G-d’s name. He also referred to him as a “Torah hero” who’s every word was rooted in Torah sources. He chastised those who refused to give him the honor he deserved.

Rabbi Dr. Saul Berman, Associate Professor at Yeshiva University, joined Rabbi Kahane on a number of occasions and supported the Jewish Defense League in its defense of locals and its fight for Soviet Jewry.

Mayer Birnbaum, famed author of “Lieutenant Birnbaum: A Soldier’s Story,” was a strong supporter of Rabbi Kahane, especially due to his background and experiences with anti-Semitism.

Rabbi Herbert (Chaim Zev) Bomzer, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University and President of the Rabbinical Board of Flatbush, would host Rabbi Kahane and ensure that he would deliver the yearly Israel address to the Brooklyn Talmudical Academy student body. He referred to Rabbi Kahane as “truly immersed in Torah all the time.” Later, Rabbi Bomzer would hold an annual memorial for Rabbi Kahane in an effort to preserve his legacy.

Rabbi Dr. Chaim Brovender, Rosh Yeshiva of Midreshet Lindenbaum, stated that despite any differences, he saw Rabbi Kahane as a very charismatic man who “had a good answer for every problem.” He also gave Rabbi Kahane credit for encouraging him to live in Israel.

Irving M. Bunim, lay leader of Orthodox Jewry and dedicated assistant to Rabbi Aharon Kotler, was a strong supporter and admirer of Rabbi Kahane and his activism, even at a time when few were.

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach was known for declaring that the Jewish people owed a great debt to Rabbi Kahane. In one instance, Rabbi Carlebach retained a bill borrowed from Rabbi Kahane as a symbol of the public debt owed him. Together, the two organized one of the first Noahide conferences for gentiles wishing to accept upon themselves Noahide law.

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, was Rabbi Kahane’s personal mentor and one of his staunchest supporters. Rabbi Eliyahu wrote an approbation to his works, noting that “only the Torah way interested Rabbi Kahane, which he constantly toiled over and which served as his strength,” and “when one considers the depth and clarity of his works, one is astonished [at how] all his time and thoughts were invested in Torah while other matters were secondary.” He concludes, “Fortunate is the family that publishes his works for others to learn from.” At Rabbi Kahane’s funeral, Rabbi Eliyahu delivered a powerful eulogy, stating that people underestimated Rabbi Kahane’s scholarship and were unaware of his countless acts of charity and kindness. He also claimed that Rabbi Kahane was the reincarnation of a fearless biblical personality.

Rabbi Yitzchok Ezrachi, Rosh Yeshiva of Mir, admired Rabbi Kahane’s teachings and frequently attended his classes at the Torah Ore yeshiva.

Rabbi Yehuda Meir Getz, Rabbi of the Western Wall for nearly three decades, delivered a touching eulogy at Rabbi Kahane’s funeral and claimed that he dreamt of the demise of the Moshiach ben Yosef on the day that Rabbi Kahane was murdered, before hearing of the news.

Rabbi Yitzhak Halevi, Rabbi of Karnei Shomron, stated that: “Today we look back and realize that it is clear that Rabbi Kahane was right. He alone fought the battle of Israel and the Torah, but we preferred to avoid joining.”

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Horowitz, the Bostoner Rebbe, heaped praise upon Rabbi Kahane for initiating defense groups to help protect Jewish communities. Later, Rabbi Horowitz hosted the JDL International Leadership Conference at Boston’s Beth Pinchas synagogue.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, founder of the Hineni outreach organization, often showered praises on Rabbi Kahane. She wrote a number of essays describing Rabbi Kahane’s greatness and contributions, referring to him as one who “dedicated his entire life to the service of our nation.”

Rabbi Avraham Kalmanowitz, Rosh Yeshiva of Mir, personally ordained Rabbi Kahane and had an apparent adoration of him. Once, after hearing of Rabbi Kahane’s sacrifice for Torah, Rabbi Kalmanowitz approached him and stated that: “Because you sanctified G-d’s name … your name and fame shall spread far and wide.”

Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky, Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Vodaath, had an affinity for Rabbi Kahane and expressed this fondness on a number of occasions.

Rabbi Yosef Chaim Klein, Menahel (principal) of the Mirrer Mesivta for over forty years, would contact Rabbi Kahane regularly requesting the presence of the JDL to protect the Yeshiva students from attack. Rabbi Kahane sent his toughest group (the “chaya squad”) to ensure the yeshiva students would remain safe and avoid missing a minute of studies.

Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, Rosh Yeshiva of Merkaz Harav and son of the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, looked up to Rabbi Kahane and, later, endorsed him in his bid for a Knesset seat, stating: “The presence of Rabbi Kahane and his uncompromising words from the Knesset platform will undoubtedly add strength and value to the obligatory struggle on behalf of the entire Land of Israel.”

Rabbi Shlomo Korach, Chief Sephardic Rabbi and Av Beit Din of Bnei Brak, saw in Rabbi Kahane a man committed to the truth. He praised Rabbi Kahane for being the first to raise the issue of the kidnapped Yemenite children and as “the only one who didn’t let me down in my hopes and dreams in Israel.”

Rabbi Yosef Mendelevitch, famous Jewish Soviet refusenik, considered Rabbi Kahane a savior of Soviet Jewry. In one interview, he stated that: “Rabbi Kahane was a representative for us. His activities made us feel good. His actions showed that Jews cared. His actions may have been controversial, but his role was very important. He was a symbol for Russian Jews.”

Rabbi Avigdor Miller, Mashgiach (counselor) at Rabbi Chaim Berlin and popular orator, initially was wary of Rabbi Kahane’s activities and often expressed so. With time, Rabbi Miller began expressing more and more praise for the rabbi and his ideology. While discussing Jewish assimilation efforts, he once stated, “Rabbi Kahane says a good deal of common sense … ‎and is perfectly right.” Regarding Israeli policy and the Arab demographic threat, he stated, “in that sense, Kahane is right. Jews ‎should have a certain independence of non-Jews, we don’t care what they will say. We’re not going to ‎fight against our brothers just to please the non-Jew.” Of Rabbi Kahane’s character, he stated the following: “He had a fiery love for the Jewish people … He criticized the Reformers and the Assimilationists more than anybody else, and that’s why he ‎was so hated!‎ He showed them up in such a way that there he was really a ‎terrible embarrassment for them, and they had to get rid of him.‎ We regret what happened to him. He was in a certain sense an ‎asset to us … When a person has good qualities we’re for him!”‎ He also encouraged his followers to attend Rabbi Kahane’s funeral, stating that he was headed straight for paradise, for he was “a Jew who stood for the wonderful cause of showing his Judaism.‎”

Rabbi Avraham Pam, Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Vodaath, had, on rare occasions, spoke of his respect for Rabbi Kahane and the impression he made on him.

Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, Professor of Rabbinic Literature at Yeshiva University, considered Rabbi Kahane one of his positive influences and close friends. “You can’t imagine the influence he had on so many young people,” he once said. “When he sang you felt that Eretz Yisrael was in the room. He was a talmid chacham that we all looked up to.” Rabbi Rakeffet-Rothkoff felt that the formation of the JDL “was such an important move, we all owe a great debt to him because it changed our thinking. As a result of JDL, you have in every Jewish neighborhood where there are problems today, Jewish patrols. This was unheard of. It later gives birth to Hatzola!” Regarding Soviet Jewry, he stated that “Meir did wonderful things… He went out in the street when no one heard about Russian Jewry and started demonstrating, campaigning.” While he felt that Rabbi Kahane exaggerated the threat to U.S. Jews, “regarding Israel, he hit the nail on the head.”

Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg, Holocaust Chairman of the New York Board of Rabbis, knew Rabbi Kahane well and was proud to have him speak in his synagogue. He related that Rabbi Kahane was “a brilliant lawyer, rabbi, politician and leader. He fully loved the Jewish people and lived and died for Israel and Judaism. He would come out for and energize a small group of old, poor and powerless Jews in a terrible neighborhood simply because they were Jews and he was asked.”

Rabbi Mordechai Savitsky, Honorary President of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, was impressed with Rabbi Kahane’s initiatives for Jewry and would praise Rabbi Kahane and his efforts in protecting Jews.

Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Ore, thought highly of Rabbi Kahane, eventually enlisting him to give weekly classes in his institution, which he did for some time.

While Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, disagreed with the effectiveness of JDL tactics vis-à-vis Soviet Jewry, he supported Rabbi Kahane on issues concerning Israel, including the issue of Arabs, relinquishing land, building settlements and the incorporation of Jewish law into Israeli policy. After hearing of Rabbi Kahane’s death, Rabbi Schneerson remarked that “one of the greatest Jewish leaders in history has fallen.” He later blessed Rabbi Kahane’s son to be successful in fulfilling his “holy father’s” work.

Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach, Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh and staunch anti-Zionist in principle, stated that Rabbi Kahane was the perfect Jew with the exception of his following the path of the Zionist rabbis. He specifically noted to his students that all men must learn three things from Rabbi Kahane’s greatness: To be stubborn in achieving one’s goals, to possess true fear of heaven and to disregard what is considered popular.

Rabbi Avraham Shapira, Chief Rabbi of Israel and Rosh Yeshiva of Merkaz Harav, stated that Rabbi Kahane was an inseparable part of Orthodox Judaism. He later openly backed Rabbi Kahane’s State of Judea movement. Though many rabbis were pressured by government officials and affluent donors to denounce Rabbi Kahane, Rabbi Shapira refused to publish such an address even when immense pressure was used.

Rabbi Aaron Soloveitchik, Rosh Yeshiva of Brisk, once stated: “What Rabbi Kahane said was ‎absolutely correct, just we don’t say it because the world will criticize us, but somebody had to say it.”

Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Diaspora Yeshiva, a known admirer of Rabbi Kahane, compared him to Abraham, claiming that both were revolutionaries ahead of their time.

Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler, Senior Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University and son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, had much praise for Kahane. He stated that Rabbi Kahane’s “whole goal was always ‘how do you make each Jew stand tall?’”

Rabbi Noach Weinberg, founder of Aish HaTorah, admired Rabbi Kahane so that he even sought to secure him in his staff, believing Rabbi Kahane was just what the kiruv movement needed.

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, Rosh Yeshiva of Hazon Ya’akov and son of Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, described Rabbi Kahane as one who fulfilled his role faithfully. He declared that “we must learn from his great actions in order that we learn the way of the Torah.”

Rabbi Meir Ze’ev, Head of the Council of Iraqi Jewry, stated that he knew Rabbi Kahane as a man of kindness. He stated: “I remember when he would divide his Knesset salary amongst numerous families. I sent him lists of avrechim (Torah students) and he never said no, he gave to all. He helped all. He was entirely dedicated to love of the Jewish people.” He also stated that Rabbi Kahane was “the only one who spoke out on behalf of Iraqi Jewry oppressed under Hussein.” He stressed our obligation to name streets and institutions after him, due to his dedication and sacrifice.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shlomo Zilberman, founder of Yeshivat Aderet Eliyahu and pioneer of the Zilberman method of Torah study, was a strong admirer of Rabbi Kahane.

Though some supported Rabbi Kahane fully in his major positions, most would support him on one issue while disagreeing on others. While some admired his fight for Soviet Jewry, others were less ecstatic about confronting the Soviets. While some backed his defense of helpless Jews in crime-ridden areas, others felt his approach would harm their reputation. While some embraced his push for Aliyah, others felt it an unnecessary creed. While some supported his strong positions against terror, others felt uncomfortable at the thought of such measures. His fight for increasing Jewish education, inspiring Jewish pride and love for one another, giving youth a reason for being Jewish and battling against assimilation were a bit more challenging to criticize.

All in all, some of the greatest of rabbis saw in Rabbi Kahane a man of vision and a scholar bearing Torah truth, a far cry from the mindless, extremist image often depicted. In fact, were one to consider the many controversial statements issued by leading rabbis in recent times, one would encounter a world of words far more extreme than any that Rabbi Kahane ever expressed. But what made him controversial was not the speech he used in the study hall, but his full intention of implementing the positions he espoused.

Rabbi Kahane would often lament that many had heard about him while so few had actually heard him. So pick up a book. Read an article. Check out some of the fascinating debates available online or browse mkwords.com. Learn firsthand and decide for yourself.


Footnotes: (1) Baruch Marzel, first-hand account   (2) Roi Sharon (March, 2009). “Rav Aviner: Of course, Rav Kahane was right!” Ma’ariv; SMS Q&A #89   (3) Adam S. Ferziger. “Beyond Sectarianism: The Realignment of American Orthodox Judaism.” p. 67   (4) First-hand account   (5) Fern Sidman (2010). “Rabbi Kahane’s Legacy Remembered at Ground Zero.” Arutz Sheva   (6) “On Meir Kahane.” WebYeshiva.org (7) Chana Bunim Rubin Ausubel. “As Long as the Candle Burns.” p. 188 (  8) Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1990). “My Best Friend, Reb Meir.” (9) “Perush HaMaccabi.” Introduction; “Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu’s Eulogy of Rabbi Kahane” (1990).   (10) First-hand account   (11) “Eulogizing Words.” The Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea   (12) “Rabbi Yitzhak Halevi on Rabbi Meir Kahane” (2009). Memorial.   (13) The Jewish Advocate (June, 1970)   (14) Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis. “In Memory of Rabbi Meir Kahane.” Jewish Press   (15) Libby Kahane. “Rabbi Meir Kahane: His Life and Thought.” p. 50   (16) Dov Shurin (grandson of Rabbi Kamenetzky), first-hand account   (17) First-hand account   (18) “Kook Supports Kahane” (1977). Jewish Telegraphic Agency   (19) “Rabbi Shlomo Korach on Rabbi Meir Kahane” (2009). Memorial   (20) “L’Chayim: Soviet Refusenik, Yosef Mendelevich” (November, 2012). Shalom TV (21) True Happiness #685; “Rabbi Avigdor Miller Conducts the Seder”   (22) First-hand account, grandchild   (23) Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff (January, 2010). A Personal Recollection.” YU Torah Online   (24) Jonathan Mark (April, 2010). “A Shiva Call For Meir Kahane.” The Jewish Week (25) Boston Herald Traveler (June, 1970) (26) First-hand account   (27) Rabbi Felsman, first-hand account from Rabbi Hecht   (28) Yated Ne’eman (1990) (29) Raphael Cohen-Almagor (1994). “The Boundaries of Liberty and Tolerance.” p. 287; Noah Zvouloni (December, 1985). “Hadashot.” Davar; Ami Pedahzur & Arlie Perliger (2009). “Jewish Terrorism in Israel” p. 94   (30) Rabbi Chayim Soloveichik (November 2015). “A Torah Approach to the Recent Wave of Terror.” YU Torah Online   (31) Memorial, Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea, November 2016 (32) “Excerpts from the Eulogy Given at Rabbi Kahane’s Funeral by Rabbi Moshe Tendler”. The Idea. 1991   (33) “Rabbi Zvi Block reveals Wall of Fame of great Rabbis” (August, 2012). Rabbi Moshe Parry   (34) Memorial (November, 2009)   (35) “Head of Iraqi Jewry on Rabbi Kahane” (2009). Memorial   (36) First-hand account
Rabbi Shlomo Moriah

Jewish ‘Pluralists’ Rage as Rabbi Riskin Gives Only One Finger, Not Entire Hand

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Leftwing writer Judy Maltz on Wednesday offered a living illustration of the popular adage “give them a finger, and they’ll take the whole hand.” Reporting for Ha’aretz on Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, spiritual leader of Efrat in Gush Etzion (Rabbi Riskin’s Unwelcome Message to Fans of Jewish Pluralism), who this week told the Jewish Agency Board of Governors that he objects to their idea of an alternative conversion court, Maltz noted that she and other advocates of the Reform movement in Israel were disappointed. After all, Riskin has been “a driving force in promoting greater roles for women in Orthodox communities in recent years, and has also advocated for greater acceptance of the LGBT community in Orthodox congregations.”

And so, employing the logic of “you gave me your finger, why not the whole hand,” Maltz wrote: “By breaking with traditional Orthodox views about women and homosexuals, Riskin and his cohorts were seen as natural allies for the Reform and Conservative movements in their struggle for greater religious pluralism in Israel – especially after daring to challenge the Chief Rabbinate not only on conversions, but also on marriage laws. Hence, the disappointment following Sunday night’s gathering.”

If ever there were clear proof to the danger of a slippery slope in the tolerance of non-halakhic Jewish movements by Orthodox Jews — Judy Maltz has just provided it. Mostly because she fails to perceive Rabbi Riskin as a halakhic person, preferring instead to view him as someone for whom—like herself—his politics is his faith.

Halakhic Jews, whether they are black-clad Haredim or Liberal Orthodox in running spandex, live their daily lives through their commitment to the yoke of the sages. Our standards may differ on absolutely everything, but we all base all our decisions on our interpretation of Jewish law, whether independently or by consulting our halakhic authority. Which is why when Liberal Orthodox rabbis support a more egalitarian approach to women in the synagogue, or embrace LGBTs, they anchor their decisions in Jewish law as they interpret it — not their personal preferences. Of course, their interpretation of halakha would certainly be influenced by their personal biases, everyone’s does, but in the end they follow the law. This is also why Haredim who object to yeshiva students’ military service anchor their opposition in their interpretation of Jewish law.

Maltz does not get it. She makes the argument that since ultra-Orthodox Jews already view the modern Orthodox as Reform Jews in disguise, the question is not whether or not they are inclined to defy Jewish law, but rather “how far are liberal Orthodox Jews willing to push the envelope,” as she puts it.

In other words, since Rabbi Riskin has already said that Reform Jews should be allowed to have their section of the Kotel, for instance, why won’t he recognize the legitimacy of Reform conversions?

A year ago, Rabbi Riskin responded to a report in Haaretz, that a Beit Din conversion panel was asking converts only to declare a general obligation to Judaism, without declaring that they would observe the commandments and live according to Jewish law, as prescribed by the Rabbis. Riskin was mentioned as favoring this approach, and he responded urgently that he is ” all for observance of the commandments and the genuine and meaningful process that leads to it.” He added that “construing my position in any other way is misleading and a simplistic interpretation that ignores the many layers and nuances of the issue.”

There are three fundamental requirements of a male convert, two of a female, according to Maimonides: acceptance of the yoke of the sages through the observance of the commandments, circumcision, and immersion in a ritual bath (Hilkhot isurei Bi’ah 14:5). No matter how loving and accepting of Reform Jews Rabbi Riskin may be, expecting him to violate these clear rules and to side with a Reform conversion that denies the rule of halakha is an insult. And it should be a lesson to Liberal Orthodox Jews who fail to make a distinction between embracing the other and embracing the other’s subversive ideology.

Maltz cites Rabbi Steven Wernick, chief executive officer of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, who expressed his disappointment that Riskin was not inclined to use his influence and stature to promote greater acceptance of non-Orthodox Judaism in Israel. “He is doing great things for pluralism in Israel, but only from within Orthodoxy,” he said.

Rabbi Riskin tried to put a leash on this cat and take it on a walkie when he told Maltz he would accept Reform conversions should the Reform agree to the requirements of “immersion in the mikvah, circumcision, and basic knowledge and practice of Judaism.”

In other words, just as soon as hell freezes over…

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-pluralists-rage-as-rabbi-riskin-gives-only-one-finger-not-entire-hand/2016/11/03/

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