Monday, June 13, 2011

Gays, Reform clergy and the AJN - but where are our Rabbis?

The following post was received last week from "Jacob" (with some editing and reworking by us). We apologise for the delay in posting - but AJNWatch too has been busy over the past weeks with Yomtov and cheesecake as well as one of our stalwarts away overseas. We'll try to catch up on the backlog of posts in the next few days.

Hi  AJN Watch,

Following your recent advice, I checked out the free online edition of the AJN. (Personally, I decided a year ago that I would no longer financially support the rag.)

What hit me was seeing it has reverted with a vengeance to its role as the Australian Gayish News - with its front page, page 3, editorial and Kron's cartoon all featuring and promoting the nauseating call by Australia's Reform clergypersons to the Federal government to legalise homosexual marriages.
As I understand it, the current owner of the AJN, Robert Magid is a member of the Reform and obviously approves (and presumably encourages) his newspaper's campaign.

 I can't remember any recent issue that the AJN supported to heavily. having said that, I don't think too many of us are surprised or shocked at the behaviour of these reform 'rabbis' and rabbiettes. After all, if they can accept a homosexual living with his boyfriend (would he have to be Jewish?) and woman who is 100% not Jewish as their 'rabbis', nothing is beyond the pale.

That the AJN supports such perversion of Torah and basic decency also comes as no surprise (especially when taking into consideration the publisher's Reform ties).

However what would have shocked most traditional and religious Jews was the almost craven and gutless response of the president of the Orthodox Rabbis of Australasia, Rabbi Dovid Freilich: "...that they (the Reform) were entitled to their stance.. ...Our view (that "the sanctity of a marriage was between a man and a woman") based on the Torah and our heritage.."

What? Rabbi Freilich has to JUSTIFY not supporting such a Toeva? Is this really the best that the representative of the Australian Orthodox rabbinate can do? Is this not almost as great a Chilul Hashem as the statement by his Reform "colleagues"?
I hope you will publish my words which are written in both sadness and anger.

Meanwhile we have received the following email which has been doing the rounds in both Melbourne and Sydney and adds to the above sentiments:

..who seems to be the only rabbi in Australia who is upset by the Reform to'eva (and its promotion by the Jewish News in both Melb and Sydney editions).

See attachments for the front page [sponsored by Glicks (!) - though I have no doubt that they are unhappy about this]
and the page 2 report where the president of Organisation of Rabbis of Australia gives some unbelievable p-weak response. What has become of the leadership of our communities? It seems that since the passing of Rabbis Groner and Chaim Gutnick the 'mainstream' rabbinate have given up on stating the genuine Torah viewpoint. (And I have no doubt that if Rabbi Zaichyk was still here, he too would have fearlessly and in his style socked it to all.)

These days, it seems that only Rabbi Ingram has the Yiras Shomayim and guts to get up and say the Torah truth (as witnessed by his repeated letters in the AJN - for which he often gets criticised and attacked in response).

(Can anyone explain why the other rabbis and Orthodox organisations, eg, COSV, RCV, ORA the Melb and Sydney Beth Dins are so passive and relaxed about this Chazerai?

Forwarded message ----------
From: Rabbi Chaim Ingram
Date: Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 9:55 PM
Subject: Fw: Progressive Judaism backs marriage Star Online

The AJN has fallen to a new abyss of irreponsibility by giving this story such promotion.

Note that the self-styled rabbinic council of progressive rabbis purports to speak on behalf of us all!(" ..the Jewish people are all too familiar with discrimination and worse and we reject it ....") not to mention that they equate opposition to gay marriage with antisemitism, cholilo.

This is dangerous stuff. Not only because of the push towards gay union but because the whole Jewish community will be implicated. No other group purporting to represent a religion has come out in Australia to lobby in this way.
Please post this out to anyone on your group who can help counteract. Write to your MPs. Write to the AJN and general press. The AJN has a poll asking if same-sex marriage should be legalised. Get online and vote NO!

Let the voice of the sane silent majority be heard.

Rabbi Chaim Ingram
41, Llandaff Street, Bondi Junction, 2022
MOB: 0423-831845

And another relevant comment from an AJNWatch reader: Heski said...

From Rabbi Ralph: "I have a problem with those Chareidim who are so obsessed with the depiction of women that they minimise essential Jewish and Halachik concepts like “kavod habriyut” (respect for humanity created in G-d’s image)" So Rabbi Ralph seems to be using the same argument that trhe Chareidim must have photographs of Ladies in their papers as our Reform Clergy are using to claim that we need same sex marriages! Seems that Rabbi Ralph hasn't taken an interest in this preverted claim re same sex marriages. He must ne too busy worrying what the Brooklyn Chassidim are doing.

Meanwhile we are pleased to report that Rabbi Ingram's plea has not been in vain and has elicited this  response to the AJN from the president of the NSW Rabbinical Council, Rabbi Yossi Feldman.

Orthodox rabbis reject same-sex union call

WE, the executive and members of the Rabbinical Council of NSW (RCNSW) totally reject the statement of the Rabbinic Council for Progressive Rabbis on same-sex union (AJN 03/06).

The Torah, basis of all Judaism, explicitly prohibits homosexuality. Therefore the rabbinate cannot condone a homosexual lifestyle. Moreover Judaism believes in the promotion in the wider society of the basic moral and ethical principles enshrined in the Noachide Code one of which is the proscription of homosexual relations.

No Torah-abiding Jew can ever make peace with the notion of legalising or validating homosexual union in any society of which he or she is a part.

Rabbi Yosef Feldman
President, RCNSW

Would it be too much to expect that the Rabbinical Council of Victoria issue a similarly worded statement? Or would it be unfair to expect Rabbi Glasman risking the ire of his new employers - who may not be all that enamored by their rabbi being 'politically incorrect'?

On the other hand, how will he and the other nervous rabbis explain to their flock the Torah reading for Yom Kippur Mincha (reproduced above)?


  1. Thanks, what took you so long?

  2. Rabbi Ingram - the conscience of Australian Jewry

  3. The RCV has a long standing policy of total non engagement with the Progressives. They do not respond to anything the progressives say or do as this simply, neither to them directly or in the public arena. Responding means that their views and ideologies warrant such response which they do not. Any response implies this is a debate within a Jewish framework which it is not. Responding to the Reforms is equivalent to responding to Atheists, Seventh Day Adventists and any other whackos that open their mouths. Well done RCV!

  4. I actually agree with the RCV's approach on this one. Those (Orthodox) rabbis who responded have turned this into an Orthodox vs Reform debate thereby legitimizing the second side of the debate. This is not about Orthodox Judaism vs Reform "Judaism". This is actually a Yiddishkeit vs Goyishkeit debate and the RCV has done well to ignore the Reform "Goyim" as though their words are chaff in the wind.

  5. Thanks for fanning the fires of intolerance. More evidence why the law needs to change, and will change.

  6. What a load of nonsense! We have a duty to inform the the world - Jewish and non-Jewish - how perverted these reform leaders are.

    That not only do they ignore and desecrate all the Taryag mitzvos, but that they don't even accept the 7 Noahide laws.

    I agree with the Ajnwatch poster that the silence of the rabbis is a Chilul hashem and sadly shows the weak state of the Australian rabbinate.

  7. As a follower of the Lubavitcher rebbe I am most disappointed with the rabbis.

    75% of Australian rabbis are Chabad. They know better than anyone else how the rebbe demanded that we promote the 7 Mitzvas Bnei Noach to the non-Jewish world.

    Here was a golden opportunity to do so - it landed on their plate and they could have created a big Kiddush Hashem and Kiddush Lubavitch in stating clearly the true Torah POV. But what do they do? Nothing at all.

    To the best of my knowledge the rebbe never asked us to bash Rabbi Meir Rabi and his matzos. But obviously for Australian rabbis such a soft (no pun intended) target was not going to be wasted - and the rabbis "really showed him" (as if).

    What is it about the rabbis? Are they afraid of their reform and gay donors - or what?

    And if thei are squirmish about this topic - all they need to do is print out a copy of the Kriah to YK Mincha - as at the head of this post and read it out. The Torah is so clear about this matter that it bears no debating.

    If you are afraid to talk about such natters - you have no right in being a rabbi (or a Chabad shliach).

  8. The rest of the world doesn't need or want your 7 Noahide laws. It's nothing but arrogance to assume we have some obligation to take heed of them.

    It would seem that the Jewish faith is as fragmented as any other faith, until you address that you can never claim to have any sort of authority.

  9. Sorry Greg, you may be uninterested. But Jews are and especially Chabad Jews. The rebbe demnded that we do our best to improv ethe world - and that includes promoting the Noahide Laws




  11. Sometimes calls by Reform should be ignored. Torah-true rabbis should focus on what is most important - promoting authentic Yiddishkeit. Engaging in a tug of war with Reform clergy does little other than portray frum Yidden as intolerant and intransigent.

    In this instance, the Torah perspective on GLBT is well known, and strongly-worded restatements of this position do nothing other than prompt GLBT Jews to respond and express their contempt for orthodoxy.

    Focus on what is important - sur me-ra ve-aseh tov, not spending your time engaging with the ra, but turning away from it and doing tov...

  12. I too wish to state that whilst I appreciate AJN Watch's view (which seems to be the attitude of our Sydney colleagues) to forcefully respond to the latest attempt of the Reform 'rabbinate' to undermine Kedushas Am Yisroel, we members of the RCV have another point of view. We feel that responding gives the Reformers more legitimacy than does ignoring their behaviour.

    But despite that I certainly respect you right to disagree with us as your thinking is also one of the derachim in strengthening Torah and Yiddishkeit.

    And in a personal capacity I thank you for being so firm and unyielding stating the Torah truth on so many topics and your uncompromising combat with falsifiers of Torah.

    And let me also state my admiration for the clear, Torahdig views by Rabbi Ingram which regularly feature in the letter's pages of the AJN

  13. Last shabbos our rabbi discussed this with a few of us. He claims that had the RCV asked all members for their opinion, the majority would have said that they should respond.

    But unlike Rabbis Ingram and Feldman in Sydney no one here in Melb wants to be the noisy troublemaker and the target of bitchy comments in the AJN.

    Most of us were disappointed to hear this. Since when was this a genuine rabbinical concern?


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