Thursday, June 22, 2006


For about six weeks ,I have been traveling in Israel, Europe and now in Boynton Beach Florida.
Now that I have finished with all my tasks,I hope to resume the blog on an even more regular basis. I thank this mornings Forward for taking note of my blog.
The controversy that started in Haaretz with President Katzav refusing to call Eric Yoffie,the head of the Reform movement with the title "Rabbi" has been taken up by the Forward as a major story.They were able in an unguarded moment get the Exec V.P of the OU to APPEAR to take offence at the "ommission."
This is not a new controversy.This mornings J.Post has the Reform movement petitioning the High Court to force the government,to appoint Reform clergy to local Religious Councils.
I believe the issue can best be understood by a quote from Chief Rabbi Lau, in my autobiography "Journey Through the Minefields" -page 329.
On December 19, 1998 the Unity Committee of the Governing Board of the Jewish Agency went to the offices of the Chief Rabbinate.In addition to the two Chief Rabbis,leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements in addition to the three Orthodox Members were present.
Rav Lau said "We don't ask who is a JEW.....THE QUESTION IS WHO IS A RABBI?"
While I will not quote the entire conversation,the final sentence sums it up.
"A rabbi who doesn't observe shabbos,can be a leader,he can be a diplomat;but he cannot be a rabbi."
Kudos to President Katzav for standing on principle.Incidentally, I did have an opportunity to present him with an autographed copy of the book when my shiur went to doven (pray) in his private synagogue two years ago.