Probe into rabbi's call to 'exclude gays'

By Sandy Rashty, March 17, 2016

A leading educational group has removed a guest rabbi's lectures from its website while it investigates accusations that he called for homosexuals to be "excluded from the community".

The Jewish Learning Exchange has launched an investigation into Rabbi Dr Dovid Gottlieb's controversial views of gay people.

Rabbi Gottlieb had previously been invited to speak at the JLE in Golders Green, north-west London. Rabbi Gottlieb is the senior rabbi of the Ohr Sameyach Yeshiva in Jerusalem - JLE's parent institution.

The JLE describes itself as an "educational and social centre for young Jews with little or no Jewish background".

In response to a one-day JLE fundraising campaign initiative on Tuesday, one angry youth worker called on people to reconsider donating to the organisation.

We were unaware of Rabbi Gottlieb's views

Writing on the JLE's Facebook page, 24-year-old Matthew Anisfeld posted a link to one of Rabbi Gottlieb's podcasts in which he said: "The person who can't face the fact that [homosexuality] is a problem, face the fact that it's a failure and face the responsibility to do his best to overcome it… is a person who really has to be excluded from the community."

JLE chief executive Rabbi Benjy Morgan said: "We were unaware of Rabbi Gottlieb's views up until this point. We can't take responsibility for everyone's comments, but while we look into this we have suspended all of his audio files from our website.

"He's not part of the JLE staff, he's not on the payroll. What he says is not part of our ethos in any way, shape or form."

Rabbi Morgan claimed Mr Anisfeld was blocked from posting on Facebook because it was "insensitive" of him to write on a fundraising page. The JLE campaign raised more than £1.2 million.

Mr Anisfeld, Masorti's young adult coordinator, is bisexual and said he had previously been told by Orthodox educators that "homosexuality was something to be overcome".

Last updated: 2:27pm, March 17 2016