Rabbi Eric Yoffie Should Stop Harming the Jewish Community
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.)
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.