Should ‘cal­lous’ Jews Z[Ód[ ÉiodW]e]k[Ê5

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

Ac­cord­ing to my dic­tionary, the def­i­ni­tion of a syn­a­gogue is a con­gre­ga­tion of Jews who as­sem­ble for wor­ship (Rab­bis avoid call­ing Tree of Life a syn­a­gogue, JC Novem­ber

2)

Rab­bis Lau and Yosef ev­i­dently don’t con­sider any other brand of dav­en­ing than their own to be kosher. The per­pe­tra­tor of this ter­ri­ble mas­sacre was only in­ter­ested that this was a gather­ing of Jews and not how they prayed. Nor were the Jews slaugh­tered in the Shoah asked for their af­fil­i­a­tion. Norma Neville

Hen­don, Lon­don

Re-Rab­bis Lau and Yosef and their cal­lous in­abil­ity to recog­nise the Tree of Life as a syn­a­gogue: ‘You Ain’t No Jews, bruvs’. Pro­fes­sor Tony Kush­ner

Parkes In­sti­tute, Univer­sity of Southamp­ton

Mr David Lau and Mr Yitzhak Yosef do not recog­nise the Etz Hayyim shul as a syn­a­gogue.

They both claim to be Chief Rab­bis. They cer­tainly have the ap­pro­pri­ate beard and hat — but why should I recog­nise ei­ther of them even as Jews? David Law­son

Finch­ley, Lon­don

As Rav Saa­dia Gaon wrote over a thou­sand years ago: “The Jewish na­tion is a na­tion only by virtue of the To­rah”. The Con­ser­va­tive move­ment un­der­stands the To­rah quite dif­fer­ently from clas­si­cal Ju­daism as for­mu­lated, in­ter alia, by Mai­monides in his thir­teen prin­ci­ples, so a “Con­ser­va­tive syn­a­gogue” sounds to Ortho­dox Jews like a con­tra­dic­tion in terms.

This is a log­i­cally valid po­si­tion even if it does not ap­peal to the ad­vo­cates of re­li­gious plu­ral­ism. While the non-Ortho­dox are per­fectly en­ti­tled to call their places of wor­ship “syn­a­gogues”, or their clergy “rab­bis” for that mat­ter, they have no right to force those who dis­agree to do so. On the con­trary, that is the height of in­tol­er­ance and should have no place in a demo­cratic so­ci­ety.

It is quite clear that Robert Bow­ers tar­geted the Tree of Life be­cause of his ha­tred of Jews but his per­cep­tion that it was a syn­a­gogue does not au­to­mat­i­cally make it into one.

De­spite the re­peated as­ser­tion that the Nazis killed Re­form and Ortho­dox Jews with­out dis­tinc­tion, it does not fol­low that the Con­ser­va­tive or Re­form ide­olo­gies are ver­sions of Ju­daism — we can­not al­low our­selves to be de­fined by those who hate us rather than by our own tra­di­tional norms. Martin D. Stern

Sal­ford M7

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