DON’T BAN THE TANYA
Those who claim the Tanya is “racist” and banned its study ( JC, October 10) are unfortunately misguided. According to their view, whole sections of our prayers will have to be banned. Furthermore, various haftarahs would have to be removed from the list or deleted from the Prophets completely.
Even more disturbing is that the vice-president of the Board of Deputies supported the ban. Every phrase in Tanya, including the comments that he found “unacceptable”, come straight out of the Bible, the Talmud, the Midrash and other authentic sources. If authentic Jewish teachings are deemed “unacceptable” and banned by the leaders of Anglo Jewry, how do they expect their neighbours to find Jewish rites acceptable? Rabbi Yossie Alperowitz Director, Chabad of Bournemouth Weston Drive, BH1 You report that three congregants of Hampstead Garden Suburb United Synagogue managed to halt an adult-education programme on the Tanya (authored by the founder of Lubavitch Chasidism, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi), on the grounds of its apparent racist content. In another story, Chris Huhne and Melanie Phillips defend the right of Holocaustdenier Frederick Toben to preach his bile, all in the name of freedom of speech.
I am no fan of Lubavitch. I also happen to despise Holocaust-deniers, though I can’t make up my mind if I agree with Mr Huhne and Ms Phillips, or if the Holocaust-deniers should rot in jail. It would be of mild interest to know if any or all of the so-called “gang of three” from Norrice Lea agree with Holocaust-deniers’ rights to freedom of speech, and if so, how they square that with their assertion that the venerable late rabbi should not be accorded the same rights. Yoav Binad firstname.lastname@example.org