lethargic_man: (capel)
This month, Israel has for the first time approved government funding of non-Orthodox rabbis. In response, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi has called upon his fellow Orthodox rabbis to prevent the implementation of the High Court's ruling. IRAC have called upon their mailing list to email him telling him that pluralism is the only way to have a state that is strong, prosperous, and democratic.

I chose to heavily modify IRAC's proforma email; here's what I wrote:
Dear Rabbi Amar,

I am writing to protest your recent letter in which you wrote “the hand given to the uprooters and destroyers of Judaism who have already wrought horrible destruction upon the People of Israel in the Diaspora by causing terrible assimilation and the uprooting of all of the Torah's precepts. And now they seek recognition in the Land of Israel as well, to be destroyers of the religion...”

This is a hateful statement that only serves to further divide the Jewish people both inside Israel and all around the world. It is certainly not the case that the aim of Masorti and Reform Judaism is to uproot all of the Torah's precepts—as a Masorti Jew, I, for example, am more observant now than I ever was before in the Orthodoxy in which I was raised.

And whilst I may disagree with the fundamental principles of Reform Judaism, I recognise that for some, it is the only denomination that will bring them close to any Jewish practice.

Is it not better, then, that such Jews in whose heart Orthodoxy can find no place can engage with the Masorti and Reform movements, and be brought into keeping some of the mitzvos, rather than being driven alway altogether and becoming completely secular?

Far from destroying Judaism, these alternatives have long been available in the Diaspora, but until now closed off in Israel—and here in the Diaspora it is Israel, not the Diaspora, that has the reputation of being mostly secular.

I therefore urge you to enter into a dialogue with the Masorti and Reform rabbis and lay leaders who you believe are trying to destroy the State of Israel. They are willing to work with you and other Orthodox leaders to create a Jewish state that represents the best of our shared heritage. Unfortunately, a dialogue only works if both sides are willing to engage. Are you?

L’shalom,
Michael Grant, friend of IRAC
(I also, rather belatedly, signed the petition to Shimon Peres and Binyamin Netanyahu denouncing the pogrom in Israel against African refugees last month.)

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Lethargic Man (anag.)

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