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