Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau reached out to non-Orthodox Jews in a meeting with Jewish Federation leaders on his trip to New York that ended last week, participants of the meeting said over the weekend.
Lau’s trip to New York was sponsored by the Religious Zionists of America and the organization’s chairman Martin Oliner.
While the rabbi did not visit Reform or Conservative institutions, Reform and Conservative rabbis were present at his visit to the Federation.
“All of us here are brothers,” Lau told the group. “I am your brother in Israel. I am here to listen to everyone.”
Lau visited the grave of Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson and attended services at Orthodox synagogues and spoke, in English, at Yeshiva University, Lander College .
In all his speeches on the trip, Lau urged the Jews he met to become more observant.
“Climb the ladder, step by step,” he said.
Oliner said the goal of the trip was to personally introduce Lau to a wide array of religious, political, philanthropic and educational institutions, as well as rabbis, government officials and lay leaders.
He said that at each venue the rabbi sought to interact and exchange ideas with those eager to meet and greet him.
“We here tonight respect and support the chief rabbi of Israel in his role as spokesman, not just of a people, but of an ideal and a way of life that has and will ensure our nation’s survival,” Oliner said at an event at the Knesseth Isra honoring Lau.