Letters extra: Your views on the Rabbi Dweck controversy

Dame Hilary Blume, Stephen Sacks, Renee Bravo and Martin D Stern on the controversy that has gripped the world of Judaism

June 29, 2017 14:21

Careless choice of words

The real problem is that Rabbi Dweck’s remarks give the impression that he believes that “gay marriage” may be acceptable. Though he claimed he had been “misunderstood and misinterpreted”, his careless choice of words calls into question his suitability to act as a spiritual leader.

However for his critics to describe him as “even more poisonous than Louis Jacobs” is a hyperbolic ad hominem attack, much to be deprecated. The latter denied some of the fundamental underpinnings of Torah Judaism, whereas Rabbi Dweck “only” used such ambiguous expressions as “there were still ways in which two men could express their love for one another”.

Martin D Stern

Congregant’s support

In reporting the controversy over Rabbi Dweck’s talk about homosexuality, your paper has failed to mention that after explaining his position in his sermon on Shavuot, Rabbi Dweck was given a standing ovation by the congregation at Lauderdale Road Synagogue. 

Those who purport to base their judgements on the Torah might note that there is little mention of same sex practices and thousands of mentions of the need to care for the poor and to pursue justice. 

I do not recall Rabbi Dweck’s critics berating their fellow rabbis for not speaking out against a lack of justice or charity.  

Dame Hilary Blume 

Nothing new 

I fail to understand the commotion regarding Rabbi Dweck’s stance on homosexuality. I vividly recall from my years in yeshiva when a senior, highly regarded rabbi on the Jerusalem Beth Din said the same. 

Indeed, he went further to proclaim a halachic scenario: Should there be two neighbouring Jewish houses with one occupied by a loving homosexual couple who did not engage in penetrative intercourse and the other by a heterosexual married couple who did not keep the laws of family purity, the latter is punishable and the former not.

Perhaps those who have openly criticised Rabbi Dweck should do the same with the majority of the world’s halachically married Jewish families? 

It seems to me that Rabbi Dweck’s authentic view is not particularly novel but neither is the opposing vocal, closed minded and hypocritical one.

Stephen Sacks

Halachah evolves

In all the discussion prompted by the affair of Rabbi Dweck’s remarks about  homosexuality, mention is often made of the “holiness of our sacred Torah”. 

But our holy Torah says that people who break the Sabbath should be killed, adulterers should be stoned, unfaithful wives made to drink dirty water, and many other things which we no longer do. 

The word “halachah”  is often used. We cannot change it because it is “halachah”. But according to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, “A material feature of Jewish law is its ever-continuing evolution. This is the fountain of authority and starting-point for the whole halachic system, with all its changes and evolution throughout the generations”.

Do we have so many sincerely religious and educated Jews that we can afford to discard the ones we do not agree with.  

Renee Bravo

June 29, 2017 14:21

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