Marseille’s chief rabbi condemns the reading, says it ‘offends the sensibilities of the public’
Illustration: Rabbi Denise Eger, a contributor to ‘The Sacred Calling,’ center, reading Torah during her installation as CCAR president, March 16, 2015. (David A.M. Wilensky)
The dozens of threats and insults, made on social networks and in emails, started coming in later that night after a group of half a dozen women read the Torah at the Fleg Jewish Center, the French community center’s president, Raymond Arouch, and director, Martine Yana, wrote in a statement Monday.
The threats were of “all kinds of assaults” and were “intolerable,” Arouch and Yana said in the statement, which neither identified the women nor contained examples of the abuse. They said the synagogue at the community center was nondenominational and open to all Jewish streams, including Reform Jews, who worship in an egalitarian manner. However, men and women were seated separately inside the synagogue during the reading, organizers said.
The incident prompted passionate statements from supporters and critics of the women’s actions, which some Orthodox Jews believe contradicts what they perceive as a prohibition on the vocalization of Torah portions by women at synagogue. The news site JForum called the fallout of the incident “a scandal” in an article Thursday.
“The reading of the weekly portion by a woman in the framework of a religious ceremony is not permitted in the Halakha (Jewish law),” the chief rabbi of Marseille, Reuven Ohana, wrote in a statement Thursday upon hearing of the women’s plan to stage a public reading on Saturday. “We ask the people involved not to offend the sensibilities of the public,” added the rabbi in a letter co-signed by two other spiritual leaders from the rabbis from the city.
The rabbis wrote they are “disturbed and terribly perturbed and furious” over the event.
But the rabbinical intervention prompted a pushback from some Jews in Marseille, which is home to France’s second largest Jewish community of approximately 80,000 members and overwhelmingly Sephardic and Orthodox.
“Have you applied any measures benefiting women in synagogue?” Liliane Vana, a prominent member of the community and a Talmud scholar, wrote on Friday in an open letter addressed to the rabbis. “For girls during their bar mitzvah? Anything?”
She accused the rabbis of remaining silent on injustices involving “chained women” – wives who are unable to obtain a Jewish divorce because their husbands refuse.
Vana added that she, too, is “disturbed and terribly perturbed and furious” by the rabbis’ reaction.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.