Where was Rabbi Boteach this week after Jersey City attack?

Boteach is quick to take attendance and point out Booker’s absence in Jersey City last week. Perhaps the rabbi should notice the glass house in which he lives before he casts such stones?

CASKET OF Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals carried from St. Aedan’s Church following funeral service in Jersey City. (photo credit: REUTERS)
CASKET OF Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals carried from St. Aedan’s Church following funeral service in Jersey City.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
I was saddened to read Shmuley Boteach’s article denigrating Senator Cory Booker in the wake of the horrible crimes in Jersey City last week. For the past few years, Rabbi Boteach has used antagonism, rancor and hostility to bait people into debate and spur his relevance. Most are on to him.
Boteach is quick to take attendance and point out Booker’s absence in Jersey City last week. Perhaps the rabbi should notice the glass house in which he lives before he casts such stones? Where was Rabbi Boteach this week? America’s rabbi, a New Jersey resident who lives only a few miles from the horrific crime, was not at the Jersey City Vigil with rabbis and faith leaders of all stripes. He was not at the hospital consoling the wounded and bereaved officers. He was nowhere to be found at the funeral for Leah Mindel Ferencz. He was not visible at the wake for Detective Seals. He was absent from the street lined with Jews and gentiles paying respects to Douglas Miguel Rodriquez’s funeral procession before burial in Ecuador. Boteach’s name was not on the sign-in at the Shiva homes.
Where was Boteach in the aftermath of this hate crime? He was busy promoting the opening of a “kosher sex” shop in Manhattan. Yup! While members of his community, where he quite unsuccessfully ran for Congress about a decade ago, were devastated and traumatized, Boteach was selling bedroom toys and jockeying for publicity.
So, “America’s Rabbi” found the time to pen op-eds attacking “his dear friend” Booker, but could not find the energy, time or resources to console the broken-hearted in Jersey City. Boteach dons the title, America’s Rabbi, after all. He does lead, ironically , an organization called the Values Network but he does nothing resembling rabbinic leadership and does not model Jewish values.
If Americas Rabbi’s, ahem, prioritizes sex shops over mourning, and values ad hominem attacks over consolation and unity, I would encourage people to steer away from such a self-serving person. For shame!

The author is rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Closter, New Jersey, a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel and a past president of the NJ Board of Rabbis.



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