Great letter in the Forward: Ex-Chief Rabbi’s Words Are Essentially Sorcery

Yes they did publish my letter.

Ex-Chief Rabbi’s Words Are Essentially Sorcery

Rabbi David Ellenson opines about Orthodox rabbis in Israel who are saying that Reform Judaism is the cause of the Holocaust and who refuse to give legitimacy to the Reform rabbinate (“Obscene Orthodox Hatred Demands a Clear Denunciation,” May 4).

This pains Ellenson — as it should — since he is the head of the Reform movement’s seminary, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

But this Orthodox rhetoric does not trouble me. My rebbe, Joseph B. Soloveitchik, would say about pronouncements like those of Mordecai Eliyahu, the former Israeli chief Sephardic rabbi, that they are essentially sorcery — neither theology nor history, but rather the equivalent of witchcraft, magic or the occult.

And I say that pushing a Reform rabbi out of a memorial ceremony is nothing more than sheer bullying.

So, if these Orthodox rabbis want to be known as sorcerers and bullies, they have my blessing. But in my eyes, they are no longer rabbis.

Rabbi Tzvee Zahavy
Teaneck, N.J.

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