Monday, December 7, 2009

AJN report: "New Chief Rabbi for Victoria"

Guest Post from a Victorian Rabbi:

Like others in the community, I too was surprised to see that front page banner in last week’s Jewish News telling us the earth-shattering news about our new Chief Rabbi.

Of course, when turning to page 13, we soon realised that this was another AJN beat-up in their usual cavalier and careless editorial approach. New boy Zeddy obviously has yet to make any impact towards creating a believable and responsible newspaper out of this rag.

Having attended the reported AGM, I must say that I was quite disappointed that a prominent and long-serving member of Melbourne’s rabbinate, Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn was so easily defeated for the position of president by a relatively inexperienced youngster. (I have no doubt that Rabbi Glasman will eventually emerge as a respected rabbinical figure, but at age 30, the presidency is a bit premature.

Of course Rabbi Heilbrunn didn’t have a hope, seeing that the majority of RCV members are Chabadniks and they weren’t going to allow an “outsider’ have the top job. We knew this all along. By standing and losing, simply Rabbi Heilbrunn proved it again.

It was extremely “charitable” of them to allow Rabbi Ralph Genende win the consolation of vice-president. They and we all know how little that means. After all, ask anyone who the previous vice-president was and you’ll get blank stare. That position means nothing and does less than nothing.

Despite all I this, I personally think that Glasman is a ‘good bloke’ and will hopefully do our community proud. I wish him all the best.

A few comments on the published remarks of the outgoing president Rabbi Kluwgant:
“We are the envy of rabbinical associations across the world...”

Please, MS, don’t exaggerate. There are dozens of cities in the US where there are far more successful and productive rabbinical groups than our RCV. And have you been reading about the achievements of European rabbis groups? If not, check it out.

As to your comment: “That killed me” (regarding the so-called abuse claim in the community); as far as the average person is concerned that was a joint AJN-RMSK campaign against a non-member which eventually came to nothing. I for one would not have mentioned it. (And even if I had, I would not have used the language like: “That killed me”.

Anyway thanks for your efforts – the $190,000 government funding is not to be sneezed at – and you can take life a bit easier now.


  1. Why don't you suggest to the RCV to adopt the new rule of the RCA about "messianic rabbis"?

    Following article from the Chabad On Line website:

    RCA Bans 'Messianic Rabbis'

    The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) is banning Chabad rabbis with messianic beliefs from membership in its group.
    By COLlive reporter

    A rabbinical Modern Orthodox umbrella group in the U.S. is banning Chabad rabbis with messianic beliefs from membership.

    The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), one of the world's largest organizations of Orthodox rabbis, includes an "affirmation regarding messianic belief" clause to its membership application.

    The clause states: "By checking this box and with my signature below, I affirm that the following resolution, adopted at the RCA's 1996 Annual Convention, reflects my beliefs:

    "In light of disturbing developments which have recently arisen in the Jewish community... declares that there is not and never has been a place in Judaism for the belief that Mashiach ben David will begin his Messianic mission only to experience death, burial and resurrection before completing it."

    This is seen as a direct rebuff to a group within the Chabad-Lubavitch movement who believes that the Lubavitcher Rebbe can still be the messiah.

    While the Rebbe passed away on the third of Tammuz 5754, the group cites what Rav Nachman says in Gemara Sanhedrin implying the Moshiach could also come from the dead.

    The RCA, associated with Yeshiva University, which employs critic of Chabad messianism Dr. David Berger, dates back to 1923 and its key member was Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik who was known to have had a friendship with the Rebbe.

    His brother, Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Brisk in Chicago, wrote in 2000: "We should not label subscribers to these beliefs as heretics."

    Among its members are Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Av Beit Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council, and Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of the Israeli city of Efrat - both friends of Chabad.

    I liked comment # 3:

    Reminds me of the joke
    A Lubavitcher wanted to join RCA but was refused, so he cried himself to sleep.
    In his dream Hashem comes to him and asks why he's crying?

    "The RCA won't let me in" he cries.

    "Don't worry" Hashem tells him, "they don't let me in either"

  2. If the RCV adopted such a rule, how many Chabad rabbis would be members?

  3. What the AJN article missed - as did my collegue the Guest Poster, that both the former and present RCV presidents and grandsons of Mendel "Bagel" Glick.

    S'pose having Glick family running the show is a change from the decades-long Gutnick domination

  4. @ "Another Rabbi"

    The current Gutnick generation leaves much to be desired, but Chaim was the greatest rabbi this country has ever seen and certainly ranks among the top Rabbinical minds in our rich history.

    In so many ways... LeChaim :)

  5. Maybe the symbol of the RCV should be a bagel?


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