Dutch decision on chief rabbi suspension criticised

The Conference of European Rabbis has criticised Amsterdam’s Orthodox Ashkenazi community for suspending its Chief Rabbi over his views on homosexuality.

Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag was relieved of his duties on Monday after signing an online rabbinical statement decrying same-sex marriage and suggesting that homosexuals should seek therapy to overcome their inclinations.

Moscow’s Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, who is president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said: “In recent weeks we have seen two disappointing extremes at different ends of the Jewish spectrum.

“In Israel, an insular and self-absorbed community showed no respect for anyone falling outside of their bubble and in Amsterdam, a community that is too concerned with what their secular peers believe, has penalised their Chief Rabbi for restating the Torah’s opposition to same-sex unions.

“As contemporary traditional Jews we have an obligation to uphold Torah values while living as responsible citizens.”

The CER was in talks with the Amsterdam community, he said, and would be sending a representative there “in an effort to work through the issue.”

Last updated: 12:51pm, January 20 2012