י"ח לחודש התשעי תשע"ד
Ha'Aretz: U. S. Jewish leaders warn MKs about Orthodox hegemony
'There is disbelief among American Jews and Americans overall,' says Reform rabbi.
Ilene Prusher, November 13, 2013
Several leaders of the American Jewish community, tired of seeing their rabbis and congregants shunted to the sidelines when it comes to life in the Jewish state, had their day in the Knesset on Tuesday and bent the ears of several sympathetic parliamentarians.
“At the Wall, at the wedding canopy, at funerals – we are not equal citizens here,” said Rabbi Richard Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism.
Jacobs, in town for the General Assembly, an annual Jewish mega-parley held in Israel only twice in a decade, warned Knesset members that this issue was driving many Diaspora Jews further away from Israel, despite the fact that the recent Pew Study showed that seven out of 10 consider themselves “very attached” or “somewhat attached” to this country.
“We are the largest Jewish movement in North America. With the retirement of Senator Joe Lieberman, every Jewish member of Senate and Congress is either a Reform or Conservative Jew. But Israel is the only democracy in the world which discriminates against the streams of Judaism which represent the majority of Jews in the world, and certainly in America.”
He pointed to the arrest of Women of the Wall members and the fact that Reform and Conservative rabbis can no longer perform a wedding without breaking the law, thanks to new legislation passed by the Knesset two weeks ago.
“When we see this, there is disbelief among American Jews and among Americans overall,” he said.
“We can practice in freedom anywhere in the world but here in our beloved Jewish homeland,” said Jacobs. Israel is doing damage to its own public image, he suggested, by continuing to allow Reform and Conservative Judaism to be treated as illegitimate.
“Ultra-Orthodox Judaism is a legitimate choice,” Jacobs said, “but it must no longer be the default position of the Jewish state – that does neither Israel nor Judaism a service.”
The various issues that emanate from ultra-Orthodox hegemony over religious matters in Israel have for years simmered on the back burner, but now appear to be hitting a boiling point in American-Israeli relations, a fact that was demonstrated by the way they seemed to dominate the GA’s agenda more than ever before.
The release of the Pew study in October added an even greater sense of urgency about how to deal with the shifting America Jewish landscape and high intermarriage rates. But the critical juncture that many leaders in the American Jewish community see themselves at today did not seem to be enough to lure any of the approximately 15 Orthodox rabbis, including representatives of the Chief Rabbinate, who were invited to the caucus, the second such session this year.
Will Chelsea Clinton’s child be considered Jewish?
|Rabbi David Stav|
Stav is the chairman of Tzohar, a group of religious-Zionist rabbis who have worked to provide solutions for Israelis who find it difficult or objectionable to get married by the rabbinate.
His solution differed greatly from Jacobs’: fix it and fine tune it, but don’t overthrow it.
“The rationale of the law is that I need to be concerned about the continuity of the Jewish existence in Israel, and so this system needs to continue,” Stav says.
“I have to worry about how I can ensure that the majority in Israel remains connected to Judaism.”
Stav gave the example of Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, having been married to a Jewish man, Marc Mezvinsky, in 2010.
The ceremony was performed on Shabbat by a Reform rabbi – two strikes in the Orthodox rulebook because weddings are not performed on the Sabbath.
“You want me to recognize afterwards that her daughter is Jewish? Or how can you expect me to recognize this person as a rabbi in Israel and trust that when he does a marriage, it’s marriage of two Jews?”
After his comments, Michael Siegal, who chairs the board of trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America, responded that he would be willing to accept Chelsea Clinton’s child as a Jew, underlining a yawning chasm between Reform and Orthodox Judaism. The Reform movement decided to accept patrilineal descent, while traditional halakha (Jewish law) demands that the mother be Jewish for the child to be Jewish, or that the child undergo an accepted conversion.
Siegal went on to the tell the story of a niece who came to Israel but couldn’t get her marriage to her Israeli husband recognized because they had eloped.
“She spent three years trying to prove she’s Jewish,” Siegel explained.
“You put off her ability to have a family,” he said in Stav’s direction, “and that is a shanda” – he added, using the Yiddish word for disgrace.
“I wish we’d gotten someone from the rabbinate to be here,” Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, a key facilitator of the ongoing dialogue, said after the session.
“Israelis need to be a little bit more sophisticated in the way they deal with the American Jewish community.”
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
"Several leaders of the American Jewish community, tired of seeing their rabbis and congregants shunted to the sidelines when it comes to life in the Jewish state..."
Good. They should be. Their "rabbis" are not rabbis. They cannot be, because their religion is not Judaism.
And just how many of their "congregants" are even Jewish these days? They have their own sham "conversions" and support of intermarriage for that. They have got some nerve throwing the yolk of responsibility of their own anti-Torah (ie. anti-Jewish) policies onto Israel and its Rabbanuth.
Actually, though, any [real] Jews from their communities can come to Israel, and not be "shunted to the sidelines," even if they are not interested in learning anything in the least bit connected to their heritage. They will welcomed in batei k'nesseth (synagogues), into homes, and at meal tables. But, they will not be lied to, and told that what they had experienced in the U. S. as Judaism, really is anything connected to be Jewish.
And, as far as these "leaders of the American Jewish community" go, they may be, because they are followed, by American Jews. But, they are most certainly not leaders within the Jewish world, as they are not leading anyone anywhere even close to what is Jewish.
The Reform Movement of un-Judaism's version of being "shunted to the sidelines," means, quite simply, not being allowed to lead Jews down the path of complete assimilation into Western "progressive" culture, they way they would like.
The caption of the photo accompanying this article (which I refuse to post here) reads: "Reform Jewish women doing a practice run for a bat mitzvah."
Now, what does that tell you? That their version of religious ceremony is some kind of show, which requires "practice runs" in order to get it just right?
That's what Judaism is to them on the surface. One big show, with fancy, politically-correct speeches, filled with what assimilated Jews in the West want to hear, instead of what the need to hear: The truth. Underneath the surface, it is much more nefarious. The Reform Movement of un-Judaism keeps the masses, at least some of whom really are Jewish, comfortably numbed out in galuth (exile), and thus leading them farther and farther away from the truth.
“We can practice in freedom anywhere in the world but here in our beloved Jewish homeland,” said Jacobs.
Judaism is not about freedom to do whatever the hell you want. We are here on earth to do what The Almighty wants, and that is not always what we want. We are not here on this earth to do what we want, and worse, to delude ourselves and others into believing that it is what The Almighty wants.
Furthermore I question just how "beloved" and how much of a "homeland" the Reform are taught to view Israel, and just how Jewish they are taught it should be.
Israel is doing damage to its own public image, he suggested, by continuing to allow Reform and Conservative Judaism to be treated as illegitimate.
Well,...that is because they are illegitimate. Denying, playing with, or otherwise slicing and dicing up the Torah, particularly Torah sheb'al Peh (Oral Torah), in order to come up with those comfortably numbing, Western-assimilationist notions to fill the masses heads makes them illegitimate.
The key word here is "decided." They "decided" to accept patrilineal decent. Why? Because they wanted to, and because their assimilated follower masses wanted it. It was convenient, and they needed validation, so these un-Jewish "leaders" gave it to them.
This is keeping Jews connected to Judaism? No. This is keeping Jews in the dark, at best, and purposefully leading Jews away from what is authentically Jewish (ie. Torah), at worst.
This report produced absolutely no surprises, except that I actually agree with Rabbi David Stav wholeheartedly here. He made some rather pointed, and very important, statements at this gathering. I mean "pointed" from the perspective of the leftist assimilationists he was addressing. Not only that, but his comments were a far cry from the idiocy of his colleague R' Yuval Cherlow, regarding how to deal with these people.
The Reform Movement was founded to help German Jews feel more comfortable living Germany. We all should not have to think twice to what German Jews feeling more comfortable living in Germany contributed. And what was the Reform Movement doing while Jews were being led to the death camps? Lobbying against U. S. intervention. 'Nuff said.
The filtering process continues. Many of those "Jews" Jacobs mentioned are either unwilling or unable or to meet the challenge of clawing their way out of a non-Jewish country and culture, and discovering where they truly belong, both physically and spiritually.
However, many of those "Jews," are not really Jews at all. Who will be left? Will you?