Lapid: Conservative Rabbis Are 'Gatekeepers' of Identity

'No One Can Claim Ownership Over the Jewish God'

By Haaretz

Published May 09, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

“The Jewish identity is in danger and you are the gatekeepers,” political newcomer Yair Lapid told audience members Tuesday at the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement in Atlanta. “Judaism shouldn’t be the jailhouse of ideas but a liberator of ideas; not a disintegrator of people but what brings people together,” he added.

Speaking on the same day that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz stunned Israelis with the surprise announcement that they had formed a unity government, Lapid had a hard time justifying his presence at the assembly, as audiences turned the discussion onto politics.

Lapid admitted it was “bad timing” and explained that while “people in America often feel neglected, the right people in Israel are listening to you.”

When asked what he plans on doing now that the early elections have been called off, Lapid said, “To work hard. I see a huge opportunity. This creates a big vacancy for us. We are going to unite all sane forces. Kadima went back to what it always has been: part of the Likud. I congratulate them on this reunification.”

Lapid said the general elections now due to take place in 2013 will set the Israeli government straight. “People in Israel are sick and tired of the old politics. We are going to be practical in voting. Things always change in the political arena… One of the hardest things is to create hope.”

The former TV host and newly minted politician was greeted with applause when he presented some aspects of his political agenda to the Jewish American crowd.

He said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, has to “tolerate the unbearable fact that the state of Israel doesn’t recognize her as a rabbi while her son is serving as an intelligence officer.”

Speaking of a bill introduced by MK David Rotem, which, for the first time in Israeli law would give the Chief Rabbinate authority over Jewish conversion, Lapid insisted he would do anything in his power to ensure it disappears.

“Israel can’t be the only country in the Western world not to have freedom of religion,” he said. “I will support civilian marriages and do everything in my power to ensure equality to all denominations of Judaism. No one can claim ownership over the Jewish God.”

For more, go to Haaretz.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.