Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Aryeh Stern has spoken out against critics of Rabbi Chaim Druckman for making public their criticism of him.
At issue is his refusal to publicly acknowledge that he was mistaken in supporting convicted sex offender Rabbi Moti Elon.
Several prominent rabbis have spoken out publicly against Druckman, one of the most senior national-religious rabbis in the country, for his failure to publicly apologize for having supported Elon, including Rabbi Moshe Lichtenstein, co-dean of the Har Etzion Yeshiva in Alon Shvut, and the current president and eight former presidents of the Rabbinical Council of America.
Stern said in his letter, obtained by The Jerusalem Post
, that he was writing to give Druckman support against “slanderers” and those disseminating “words that could be offensive” to the rabbi who Elon described as someone who has led the national-religious community for many years.
“It appears to me that the rabbi [Druckman], who does things in a considered manner, should be relied upon, and even if [someone has] remarks, it is not fitting to write offensive letters and to publish them, but rather to direct those [remarks] in person to clarify the issue,” wrote Stern.
The rabbi added that someone who serves the public responsibly should behave “with courtesy” and bear in mind the Talmudic precept that “You shall fear God includes Torah scholars.”
Stern sent his letter on February 5, just two days after Lichtenstein made his own letter calling on Druckman to apologize publicly, and Stern’s letter appears to be direct reaction Lichtenstein.
Lichtenstein called on Druckman to publicly apologize and admit he made a mistake on February 3, but did however send his letter directly to Druckman approximately five days earlier.
When Druckman did not respond, Lichtenstein released the text of his letter on Facebook.
Similarly, two of the nine US rabbis who called on Druckman to apologize met with him at the beginning of January to tell him they expected him to take public responsibility for his stance regarding Elon. Three weeks, when Druckman had not done so, they made known their opinion.
A source close to Stern told the Post that the rabbi saw the different letters to Druckman as a form of extortion, demanding that he make a public apology or be publicly censured, or worse, by them.
One major donor and a major philanthropic organization have suspended funding to institutions connected to Druckman.
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