Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

JFNA Leader Slams Israel Chief Rabbi for Conservative School Comment

The leader of the rabbinical arm of the Jewish federations movement expressed his “extreme disappointment” in Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi’s rebuke of the country’s education minister for visiting a non-Orthodox school.

It is “particularly disappointing that you chose to criticize rather than encourage greater cooperation between the Jews of Diaspora and of Israel,” Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, the president of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Rabbinic Cabinet said in a Dec. 27 letter to Rabbi David Lau.

“Your comments only weaken rather than strengthen the ties between Jews in the Diaspora and Israel,” Weinblatt said.

Lau had earlier in the month criticized Education Minister Naftali Bennett for visiting a Conservative Jewish Solomon Schechter school while in New York.

Lau told the haredi Kol Hai radio station that Bennett, the chairman of the religious-Zionist Jewish Home party and a modern Orthodox Jew, should have conferred with an Orthodox rabbi about the visit. Lau called the Dec. 1 trip to the school “unacceptable.”

“To speak deliberately with a specific community and to recognize it and its path, when this path distances Jews from the path of the Jewish people, this is forbidden,” Lau said. “If Minister Bennett would have asked my opinion before the visit, I would have said to him explicitly, ‘You cannot go somewhere where the education distances Jews from tradition, from the past, and from the future of the Jewish people.’”

Weinblatt, a Conservative rabbi in a Maryland suburb of Washington D.C., said in his letter to Lau that he was surprised by the report because the chief rabbi had recently conferred with the JFNA’s rabbinic cabinet in New York and had expressed an “open and tolerant spirit.”

Weinblatt in a separate Dec. 27 letter expressed his appreciation to Bennett for the visit.

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.