Speech Reflects Chabad Split

By Jennifer Siegel

Published July 15, 2005, issue of July 15, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A prominent Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi delivered a speech in Brooklyn this week lambasting his movement’s leadership for not aggressively fighting Israel’s plan to dismantle settlements in Gaza and the northern West Bank.

“When I read that the Lubavitch took a position that we’re not to get involved, it went against everything I know,” said Rabbi Avraham Hecht, 83, at an anti-disengagement event held Sunday night at the Jewish Children’s Museum, located across the street from Chabad’s worldwide headquarters in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights area. “How stupid can these people be? This is deportation, not disengagement. Even the Nazis didn’t do it this way.”

Hecht’s recent speech was part of a program hosted by the Pikuach Nefesh organization, a Lubavitch group that opposes the disengagement. About 60 Chabad rabbis, many of whom had traveled to New York to visit the rebbe’s grave last weekend to mark the 11th anniversary of his death.

Hecht did not endorse violence in response to Israeli policy, although the rabbi suggested it was likely that some settlers would respond with violence. “But,” he said, “do we want that — that one Jew should kill another Jew?”

The rabbi’s pointed criticism of Chabad’s institutional leaders highlighted current tensions within the movement. While opposition to Israel’s disengagement plan is widespread within Chabad, the central leadership — which directs the rabbis who perform outreach around the world — has avoided organizing an official campaign against it.

For an expanded version of this story, visit www.forward.com.






Find us on Facebook!
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • 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.