November 29, 2010
Dear old Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet. He's so obsessed with his own importance that he can no longer stand the thought of thousands of Jews all being together just up the motorway from Mill Hill without him. His latest shul blog entry is entitled "The End of the Limmud Controversy" http://www.shul.co.uk/readArticle.php?article=83 and it reminds us of how he thinks he was at the centre of a storm about Orthodox Rabbis attending Limmud some years ago, but that he's willing to forgive Limmud now that it has returned to its original values of orthodox teaching. I can assure readers that this was a storm in a kiddush cup. A very small kiddush cup.
In his piece we learn that Rabbi Schochet has, for all these years, towed the party line by not attending Limmud, although many US Rabbis have done so, and Lord Sacks himself is on the record as a great supporter of what he sees as one of Anglo-Jewry's major success stories.
He tells us that Limmud had, over the years, been hijacked by the reform and pro-pluralist orthodox with "ulterior motives", and this is why he supported the Bet Din position, but that's OK now because for the past few years young Elliott Goldstein has saved Limmud from the terror of pluralism making it safe for him to teach there. So there you have it, Elliott Goldstein is not pro-pluralist. In fact for the years he was at the helm of Limmud he was carefully steering it away from Port Pluralism.
Well Rabbi Schochet, if it has been your concern that Limmud was controlled by left but that it's getting back on the right track now I'd advise you to stay away because you're not going to like it. Your suggestion that 80% of attendees are from the United Synagogue sounds very high to me, and I'd love to know your source for this statistic, but that's irrelevant because Limmudniks just don't care. We don't go round worrying about what flavour of Jew everyone else is. We go to learn, meet friends and have fun. There's no space at Limmud for the intolerance that you would bring because it's packed to the rafters with thousands of Jews who are willing to listen to perspectives and voices other than their own (although it's true that there always seems to be one person per session who can't shut up).
Perhaps what I find most laughable about Rabbi S's post is the suggestion that with his presence, and perhaps that of one or two others who share his midset, Limmud could be brought back to what it was always intended to be.
Funny. I didn't know it was intended to be a place for teaching strict orthodox doctrine. I thought that's what Project Seed was for. Rabbi Schochet, I think you'd better take a look at the Limmud Core Values before deciding to join us, especially those values about learning and diversity http://www.limmud.org/home/mission/.
He leaves us with a teaser: "Will I be going? Watch this space."