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November 7, 2013 11:24 am

Rabbi Eric Yoffie Should Stop Harming the Jewish Community

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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Dr. Miriam and Mr. Sheldon Adelson at the 2011 AIPAC Conference. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, who served as president of the Union for Reform Judaism from 1996 to 2012, is a very busy man. Running a denomination which purportedly represents 1.5 million Reform American Jews, who have largely assimilated and intermarried, is clearly a challenging task – one which he has failed miserably at if every study, poll, or simple demographic survey on American Jewry is to be believed.

Despite these vast failures, Yoffie keeps himself quite busy. He fills his days writing articles urging more pressure to be put upon the tiny, often beleaguered Jewish state, with pieces like his recent op-ed entitled: “Why U.S. Jews must embrace Kerry’s appeal to put pressure on Netanyahu.“ Not content to fail at outreach, he criticizes one of the largest (and most successful) Jewish movements in the world, Chabad, claiming that it “is often the address for those who wish to avoid serious requirements for the child or family.” (One may have thought he was referring to the Reform Movement.)

Yoffie’s foolishness extends to previous calls on the Jewish community to boycott Pastor John Hagee and Christians United for Israel, one of Israel’s most powerful and closest allies in the United States. (None of these objectives have thankfully been achieved – he’s failed at all of them.)

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Not content with the terrifyingly high intermarriage rates, he involves himself in issues having nothing to do with Judaism, speaking out on issues like gun control: “… We are ready for a knock-down, drag-out, no-holds-barred battle against the NRA, which is the real criminals’ lobby in this country, and which is drenched in the blood of murdered children.” (One wonders if he considers the Maccabees heroes with Hanukah approaching).

The above still not enough, his most recent act has been to call upon the most substantial Jewish philanthropist in the world, Sheldon Adelson, to be boycotted. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are great Jews about whom it has been said that “not since the Rothschilds and Moses Montefiore has one philanthropist so dominated the global Jewish stage with such total commitment to the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland…” They are among the rare high-profile Jews to stand up and say what is in Am Israel’s (the Jewish people’s) best interest, regardless of political correctness.

As their website states, “the Adelson Family Foundation focuses its support primarily on programs that benefit the State of Israel and the Jewish people.” They give away more than $250 million annually to Jewish causes.

Yoffie’s Torah is the “Torah of Liberalism,” as Norman Podhoretz has referred to it. It’s praying for liberalism to win at all costs and is despicable.

Where are the mountains of condemnation for Yoffie and his comments? Where are all the Jewish liberals who speak about freedom of expression, and the “diversity” of views which are so important? Imagine if a right-wing leader called on a boycott of a left-wing mega philanthropist? Imagine the banner headlines and yelling?

As none other than Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has said, “I know Sheldon Adelson, and I have worked with him on several matters relating to Israel and the Jewish community. I have spoken on behalf of the wonderful school he has built in Las Vegas. And have had the pleasure of teaching one of the brilliant graduates of that school. Adelson was deeply involved in the creation of the Birthright Israel Program, which has had extraordinary success in exposing young Jews to Israel. It’s hard to find anyone who has done as much for the Jewish community as Sheldon Adelson. Adelson grew up in Boston in near poverty and is a shining example of the American dream. He is a self-made multi-billionaire who has contributed significantly to the world of modern technology and to the economic growth of Las Vegas and other areas. His generosity has helped repair the world…”

Other than Dershowitz, the deafening silence of our so-called leaders is despicable. Sheldon Adelson and his wife Dr. Miriam Adelson epitomize many of the great things about American Jewry. It’s a shame that the Jewish community doesn’t support them as they support the Jewish community.

Philosopher Max Nordau once told Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky that “the Jew learns not by way of reason, but from catastrophes. He won’t buy an umbrella merely because he sees clouds in the sky. He waits until he is drenched and catches pneumonia.” With the recent Pew Report survey, we know that American Jewry is in a catastrophic situation and it is pouring rain.

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson should be lauded and thanked, and liberal extremists like Rabbi Eric Yoffie asked to keep their mouth shut. He’s already harmed the Jewish community enough.

Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist, via the Ronn Torossian Foundation.

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  • D

    this author is going to hell.

    by the looks of his photo… he is a hypocrite jew that supports religious extremism when it is in his best interests (but cant be bothered to grow a foot long beard and wear a funny hat from the 1600s bc that isnt his style).

  • Marshall

    An interesting article, and well written. With respect, I offer my comments.

    Firstly, I reject the idea that the NRA and gun control are beyond the scope of a Jewish awareness of the world. Doesn’t the Torah teach us to work for a time in which we will plunge our swords into ploughshares? When nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and neither shall the study war any more? Gun violence in the US is out of control, and if Rabbi Yoffie can save a single life by using his platform to speak against it, then it is if he has saved an entire world. And I support him in that effort.

    Secondly, the land of Israel is our spiritual and ancestral homeland. I have hiked from the Mediterranean Sea to the Kineret, and have never experienced such beauty. The State of Israel, on the other hand, is NOT BEYOND REPROACH. I believe that there are human rights issues at stake in the way that the Israeli government treats Palestinians (of course, this is a two-way street, and no one party is guilt-free). I believe that Israel does not represent a truly free Jewish state. Orthodoxy is not the only authentic form of Judaism. The only authentic form of Judaism is the sacrificial Temple cult described in the Torah. So who is the Orthodox community to say that other ways of being Jewish are inferior, when their Judaism is also interpreted to fit their understanding of the world.

    Further, intermarriage is NOT terrifying. From where I stand it is beautiful. Some people I know consider a Jew marrying a non-Jew to be marrying “out,” but I say we need to change the language to their partners marrying “in.” We can engage interfaith families. We can help them to provide nurturing, Jewish homes for their children. We can provide safe spaces for their families, even if the Chief Rabbi and the State of Israel will not.

  • Daniel

    The author has engaged in a bit of hyperbole here. Where in Yoffe’s piece does he call upon the Jewish community to “boycott” Adelson?

  • How surprising. The head of the Jewish branch of the Martin Luther Reformation Movement working against the interests of those Faithful Jews who haven’t bowed before the secular golem created by the German anti-Semite responsible for the Reformation. I seem to recall another German institution that adversely affected European Jewry in the 30’s and 40’s. Some believe there’s a connection.

  • PASTOR YOFFIE DID a few GOOD THINGS.
    1)Rejecting pastor hagees help. Every cent comes with attachments, missionaries political pressures to hand over part of King Davids Tomb for xtian prayer.Every cent of hagees comes with an obligation to hear his prosletizing out of guilt.
    2)when kerry was a presidential candidate his wife donated 5 million dollars to the muslim brotherhood.
    Now she donates throough the ‘tides foundation’ which is a conduit to various radical groups such as muslim brotherhood. So far what kerry and obama has supported are all against the interests long term, of Israel.

    PASTOR ERIC YOFFIES ORGANIZATION LIKE ALL GOOD XTIANS ARE SLOWLY DISINTEGRATING INTO THE DUST.

    THAT POLL OF AMERICA JEWS…maybe they should have taken it in JEWISH SECTIONS WHERE THERE ARE JEWS THAT ARE SHORT OF HOUSING DUE TO THE TREMENDOUS EXPANSION OF TORAH OBSERVANT JEWS OF ALL COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD LIVING AND PRAYING EITHER TOGETHER OR NEXT TO EACH OTHER.
    Synagogues popping up all over..TORAH dedications everywhere…in JEWISH SECTIONS…MARRIGES, BABIES..RABIES… BARUCH HASHEM…

    THE GROWTH TOWARDS THE GENIUNE ORIGINAL…TORAH ORTHODOX JEWS, ASHKANAZ AND SEPHARD ARE GROWING AND WE NEED MORE HOUSING BOTH IN AMERICA AND ISRAEL….
    WE NEED MORE KIPAS MORE TEPHILIN…
    TORAH JEWS ARE GROWING EVERYWHERE……B’H

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