By Simon Rocker
February 11, 2011
The imminent return of Baroness Neuberger to the rabbinate is continuing to cause a stir in the Orthodox world.
In the newly redesigned Jewish Tribune, enjoying a fresh lease of life after talk of its demise a few months ago, columnist Alex Strom sees a threat in her public profile.
“It would be disastrous if someone representing a movement that rejects Yiddishkeit and has brought about a spiritual churban [catastrophe] to Jewry became Jewry’s spokesman simply by default,” he declares.
Whoever becomes next Chief Rabbi must not only be “elegantly eloquent” but also “a real champion of uncompromising Orthodox Judaism”. And whoever selects him must be keen to put clear blue water between the Chief Rabbinate and “the dangerous alternative”.
Two names floated as possible candidates for Chief are “fully paid-up members of the Charedi community”, he says, namely Rabbi Harvey Belovski of Golders Green and Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag of Whitefield.
While Lord Sacks’s “communal achievements have been largely unremarkable”, he argues, “there are few who would question his oratory and writing skills.”
Meanwhile, here are some of his views about the Liberals and Reform:
Baroness Neuberger is “a Liberal Jewess who is now being appointed to lead the most cathedral of the Reform Synagogues. (The use of the word cathedral is not entirely accidental, as the Reform synagogues have probably more in common with a cathedral than a synagogue.)”
And: “There are subtle differences between the two movements. Reform Judaism in its struggle for recognition has a adopted a few more of the traditional tenets of Judaism such as services on Shabbos rather than the Liberal Movement’s Sunday services, bris milah and the retention of Hebrew in prayers.”
And: “The failure of their philosophy is evident in that there are very few second generation Reform or Liberal Jews.”
Let's see if the Tribune carries a letter next week from the Liberals, among other things pointing out that they do not hold Shabbat services on a Sunday....