Religious Action Center denounces Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu’s comments against Reform Jewry
Saperstein: We call on… responsible Jewish religious leaders across our nation and the world, from all streams, to condemn these remarks unequivocally. Too few have yet done so.
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Washington, April 20, 2007 – Earlier this week when Yom HaShoah was recognized, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel made outrageous, venomous comments on Israeli radio stating that the Holocaust was caused by, and was punishment for, Reform Judaism.
Jewish leaders cannot stand silent when we hear such hate-filled language. As Jews, we cherish the biblical commandment found in Leviticus 19:17: "You shall not hate another in your heart." We know all too well the dangers of hate-filled language, and of failing to recognize such hateful language for what it is: language that is designed to victimize and demonize the entire Reform Jewish Movement – past, present and future. We continue to work arduously to build bridges throughout the entire Jewish community so that one day we can function as a complete and whole people.
We applaud Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who in response to this controversy, reached out to the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the international umbrella body of Reform Judaism, showing his appreciation for the Reform Jewish Movement and for its “contribution to Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora.”
It is difficult to convey the pain such accusations cause among the two million who identify as Reform Jews when such sentiments are expressed by anyone, most particularly by a former Chief Rabbi of Israel. To those who are survivors and to the families of victims of the Nazis, such sentiments are particularly abhorrent.
We call on Rabbi Eliyahu to apologize for these remarks, and for responsible Jewish religious leaders across our nation and the world, from all streams, to condemn them unequivocally. Too few have yet done so.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes
more than 1800 Reform rabbis