In case you haven’t seen this piece shared dozens of time in your Twitter feed, the New York Times reports that many rabbis will not speak out about Israel because of the divisive nature of the topic.
The handful of examples brought up in the piece, however, represent a larger trend which has been building up steam for years.
I know of at least two congregations in TO where all sermons and d’var torahs have to be vetted before delivery in fear of roiling the laity. I am sure there are more with more informal “arrangements”.
Although many folks are only now tsk-tsking this unfortunate trend because it is has steamrolled over a handful of beloved congregational rabbis, as I wrote in Chapter 9 of End Of The Jews, Israel has stopped serving as a rallying point for the Jewish community for years.
Coupled with the flailing of the right-tilting establishment who try to force the dichotomous “Either you’re with us or against us” party line (especially in times of trouble in Israel), what we are seeing in the mainstream media (finally) is a bubbling up of that ubiquitous disaffection and perhaps a little soul-searching.
Nonetheless, no one likes being presented with ultimatums, but if forced to choose, many fair-minded folks who cherish Jewish values might sadly choose the door. Some, like suburban Chicago’s Rabbi Brant Rosen, have already hit the bricks.