August 25TH, 2017: Shas and Tzohar

Jerusalem Shas leader Arye Deri has it all wrong.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Deri on Tzohar
Rabbi David Stav’s persuasive rebuttal of Interior Minister and Shas leader Arye Deri’s malicious questioning of the Tzohar rabbinical organization’s Orthodoxy (“To Arye Deri: Dividing Jews is not part of your portfolio,” Comment & Features, August 24) reveals the tremendous gap between the two leaders in both substance and style.
Rabbi Stav might have chosen to point out the criminal record of Deri and the hypocrisy of his preaching of unity at the very instant he is making harshly divisive and derogatory statements. Instead, he chose the more dignified and substantive road of pointing to the inclusive Jewish approach and achievement of Tzohar as a religious Zionist organization working for the benefit of all the people of Israel.
It is clear even from this brief exchange which kind of leadership the Jewish people and Israel need now.
Shas leader Arye Deri has it all wrong (“Deri: Tzohar is borderline Reform,” August 22). He is guilty of obfuscation, misrepresentation and outright falsehood. If any group is borderline Reform, it is the latter-day saintly rabbis who support Shas.
These rabbis are guilty of making rules that do not exist in the dual Torah canon. They are the same rabbis who claim divinely- given insights not available to lesser Jews. Sadly, they are charlatans. They claim there is a secret Jewish tradition known only to them, and that only they are qualified to rule on matters of Torah.
Deuteronomy1:1 teaches us that “Moses spoke all these words” – meaning Torah – to “all of Israel.” It is Deri who misrepresents Jewish tradition.
If ever there were a chutzpah award, it should go to Arye Deri. If anyone should show some sort of restraint in his remarks, it’s Deri – considering his “glorious” past.
If Tzohar exists, it’s thanks to the dysfunctional Chief Rabbinate and the country’s haredim. Deri, as usual, is on the wrong side of history.
Shas has produced a high number of corrupt lawmakers and other officials. At the very least, Deri could refrain from further splitting of the Jewish people. I recommend a careful reading of this week’s Torah portion, which describes best the sins of corruption, both physical and – all the more – moral.
It is hoped that one day, Deri’s constituents will wake up and see the truth.
Liberal US journalist Jake Tapper says something critical of Palestinian-American and far-left activist Linda Sarsour and she promptly brands him a member of the alt-right. Steve Bannon refers to White House staffers who do not align themselves with his narrow worldview as “fake Republicans” and “secret Democrats,” as if politics were a game of Spy vs. Spy.
Now, Arye Deri sees fit to categorize the religious-Zionist community in general, and the Tzohar organization in particular, as borderline Reform Judaism. He said this at a B’Noam conference that was intended to make the religious establishment “more welcoming,” not less.
Can we please dispense with the practice of terming anyone not in 100% conformity with us as being on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, no matter how close to us they actually are?
Beit Shemesh
Quite depressing
It might sound strange coming from a practicing non-haredi Orthodox Jew, but I am so relieved that the High Court of Justice has stepped in to adjudicate the Western Wall imbroglio (“Chief Rabbinate contests High Court jurisdiction over Western Wall prayer,” August 22).
If truth-in-advertising laws applied to the Chief Rabbinate, it would be renamed the “Chief Rabbinate of the Haredim,” since that is the only group of Jews it recognizes as “real” Jews.
It is quite depressing to observe those purporting to be ultra-Orthodox not displaying any of the ethical standards that we as Jews must uphold, to wit: “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” “Every Jew is responsible for every other Jew” and other directives.
Tzur Yigal