inloggen
×

Mijn Crescas

Inloggen met gebruikersnaam & wachtwoord






Zonder wachtwoord snel inloggen?

Columns

Weblogs disclaimer

Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Rabbijn Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo (1946) werd geboren in Amsterdam en woont sinds 1977 in Israël. Als kind van een Portugees-Joodse vader en een niet-Joodse moeder heeft hij een lange weg afgelegd. Op zijn 16e is hij ‘uitgekomen’ (Joods geworden) bij Chacham Salomon Rodrigues Pereira. Jaren later haalde hij zijn rabbijnentitel aan de orthodoxe Gateshead Yeshiva. In Jeruzalem richtte hij de David Cardozo Academy op. Rabbijn Lopes Cardozo publiceert regelmatig en neemt daarbij geen blad voor de mond.

vrijdag 5 juli 2019

To the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, and His Rabbinical Court.

Shalom u-vracha,

I hope you and your families are all well.

A short while ago, I was informed that you banned all your (Orthodox) rabbis from teaching at this year's Limmud conferences in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, which will take place in August.

Since I have the greatest respect for all that you have done for South African Jewry, and for the outstanding programs that you've built, which have been adopted in many other countries, I am, as an Orthodox rabbi, greatly saddened by your decision. In fact, I am utterly incapable of understanding what your motives for this far-reaching resolution could possibly be.

I cannot believe that the reason is that other denominations, such as the Reform and Conservative movements, will be present as well. This sounds small-minded and doesn't reflect the great people that you are.

If it is the reason, then I believe it's a huge mistake. Although I suspect that I won't be able to change your minds, I would like to explain to you and my many readers why I have been teaching at Limmud for years, in many countries, and why I believe it is an obligation for every Orthodox rabbinate to participate.

As far as I know, only England's and South Africa's batei din have taken this radical step of forbidding their rabbis to teach. In all other countries, the Orthodox Rabbinates fully participate, including Chabad. It is also bizarre that those Orthodox batei din that forbid their rabbis to teach in Limmud give their rabbinical kashrut certificates for the food that is served at these conferences!

Although I have explained my position to you in earlier writings, let me repeat some of the points I've made and add a few more.

What I love most about authentic Orthodox Judaism is its enormous courage. It dares. It avoids neither obstacle nor critique. It enjoys a good fight in order to enrich itself. It loves to confront and provoke. It is a protest movement against all sorts of "isms"; but, above all, against small-mindedness. Its task is to disturb; to fight complacency and spiritual conceit. Judaism teaches that one cannot inherit religion. One needs to fight for it and earn it. To be religious is to live in a state of warfare: to be constantly wary of clichés while struggling for insight; to avoid obstinacy and remain flexible; and, perhaps most important, to refuse to let practice become mere habit, and to strive to maintain spiritual and moral alertness.

I am a child of a mixed marriage and was raised in a completely secular environment. My discovery of Judaism has been an ongoing revelation over many decades. I studied in the ultra-Orthodox Yeshivat Beit Yosef in Gateshead, England, for eight years and then continued learning in other yeshivot in Israel. For many years I have studied secular philosophy, and the more I learn, the more I realize that while these yeshivot gave me a solid foundation of Talmudic knowledge, for which I am most thankful, there is much more to Judaism than these studies alone. I believe that real Orthodox Judaism still has scaffolding, which should remain while the building continues, never to end.

And so I love to go to Limmud, to listen and to teach. Limmud is a place where I am challenged; where I hear new things (including some utter nonsense); where I can fall in love with my fellow Jews, laugh and cry with them, and share my commitment to and struggles with Judaism.

What I believe Limmud must insist upon, however, is not inviting anti-Semitic journalists (as happened many years ago in London) and self-hating Jews (as apparently happened in Sydney). Nor should they allow for BDS speakers to spread their lies about Israel. Pluralism does not mean that anything goes. "The peak of tolerance is most readily achieved by those who are not burdened with convictions", said Alexander Chase (1). Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything!

I hope that I do not need to explain to you that Reform and other denominations, however much we may disagree with them, have nothing in common with these anti-Semitic factions.

I enjoy hearing lecturers at Limmud, specifically when I know I am likely to disagree with their conclusions. These lectures challenge me to re-examine my beliefs, and occasionally they offer many profound critiques of Judaism. Sometimes I agree with these critiques; sometimes not.

But one thing is surely true: Orthodox Judaism today is far too dedicated to defensive self-preservation – to propping up sacred cows, which need to be slaughtered before it is able to re-discover itself and once again be authentic. If we don't admit this, we are just misleading ourselves. And Limmud is a great facilitator, prompting me to help make Judaism once again the primary love of many of my fellow Jews.

Limmud offers me the entire Jewish world in a microcosm. As one who has been teaching Judaism for more than fifty years, I need to know what is happening in the larger Jewish world – all the struggles, the differences of opinion, the paradoxes, and the pain of many of my fellow Jews who don't fit into an easily definable box but still love being part of our great endeavor. I am confronted daily with the accusation that Judaism has stagnated; that it is terribly dogmatic; that it no longer advances bold ideas; and that it offers little to the many young Jews who are looking for more spiritual lives. Sadly, I agree.

The irony is that the teachings and practices that comprise Judaism were designed to avoid just such a scenario. So I ask myself together with my Orthodox colleagues: Can we reformulate or, more accurately, help to revitalize Orthodox Judaism so that it will once again represent a vibrant way of living, without letting go of what I believe are its fundamentals? I think we can, but we need Limmud to help us hear the voices of all these searching souls.

In truth, I believe that most religious Jews – whether Orthodox, Conservative or Reform – including myself, don't even know how much more Judaism has to offer. It contains multitudes; it encompasses a world of sublime ideas, which we have not even begun to grapple with.

I myself have been asked by several Orthodox rabbis not to participate in Limmud, because by so doing I lend legitimacy to other denominations. With all due respect, I consider this utter nonsense.

Just like the Internet, Limmud is a marketplace for many ideas that now circulate throughout the larger Jewish world. Should I not make use of the Internet at all because within its vastness exist opinions with which I partially or completely disagree and which I sometimes find a bit repulsive or silly?

Why should I deny the many hundreds of Limmud participants the opportunity to hear a (hopefully) intelligent Orthodox idea on what Judaism is or what I believe it should be?

Why should I offer Limmud on a silver platter to schools of thought I respectfully disagree with, although I do believe that some are intriguing?

By telling its rabbis not to participate, doesn't Orthodoxy give the impression that it fears the other denominations? Nothing could be worse than that. It's a sign of utter defeat. Is this what you want to accomplish? Shouldn't these denominations be fearful of the Orthodox, if you, as I do, believe that Orthodoxy holds the "truth", whatever that may mean?

I love to sit on panels where representatives of other Jewish religious movements will argue with me. It is a marvelous opportunity to learn, as well as to showcase the Orthodox position. I have a lot to learn from them, and they from me.

In fact, I think all these denominations should realize that the time has come to see where they agree. While it is true that there are differences of opinion, some of them very serious, it is also true that over the last few years important changes have taken place in all these branches – including the Orthodox – which I believe lay the foundation for new opportunities where cooperation is possible, even on an ideological and halachic level. Each denomination must leave its own comfort zone and learn to take risks.

Though reluctance to do so is often seen as a sign of weakness, one should not make the mistake of believing this to be the full story. The stubbornness to compromise is indeed often related to weakness. But it is also related to the fact that one cannot put reconciliation before one's conscience. Judaism is much more than politics, economics, science, or even philosophy.

It is an entirely different category, and not even unity for the sake of unity can be its final goal. Its aim is to achieve kedusha (holiness), promulgate a great religious moral mission, and live accordingly. Why not show and explain this at Limmud?

I want Judaism to be what it really always used to be: a tradition where ideas can be tested, discussed, thought through, reformulated, and even rejected, with the understanding that no final conclusions have ever been reached, can be reached or should be reached.

Matters of faith should remain fluid, not static. I want my fellow Jews to fall in love with traditional Halacha – not defensive, but prophetic Halacha, about which famous Orthodox rabbis, foremost Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook – one of the greatest Orthodox thinkers of our day – and many others, have written. After all, Halacha is the practical upshot of living by unfinalized beliefs while remaining in theological suspense. Only thus can Judaism avoid becoming paralyzed by its awe of a rigid tradition or, conversely, evaporating into a utopian reverie.

For all these reasons, we Orthodox rabbis should participate in Limmud. Not to do so is a terrible dereliction of our religious duty.

Although I suspect that I won't be able to persuade you to change your minds, I hope you realize that your decision does more harm than good. Let us hope that next year you will decide differently.

With respect, and wishing you Shabbat Shalom from Yerushalayim,

Nathan Lopes Cardozo


1. Perspectives, 1966.

Delen |

Uw reactie:

vul de beveiligings-code in
aug 2019The Sweetening of the Divine Word
aug 2019A Command to Cancel the Commandments Tolerating Heresy
jul 2019Life: The Courage to Say 'Li'
jul 2019The Divine Insanity of Halachic Chess
jul 2019Limmud
jun 2019The Embarrassment and Honor of Being Called a Rabbi, and Third-Epoch Halacha
jun 2019The High Priest, the Pope and I
jun 2019My Struggle with Persuasion and the Truth Concerning other Religions
jun 2019Is the Torah Divine? Thoughts for Shavuot on Combustibility
mei 2019A Vote of Confidence
mei 2019To Madonna
mei 2019On Music Baths And Art As Religious Protest
mei 2019Yom Ha’atzmauth The Eternal Marriage
mei 2019My Chareidi and Modern Orthodox Struggles Question 9, Part Two
apr 2019Bread is an Arrogant Matza
apr 2019Question 9 My Chareidi and Modern Orthodox Struggles Part One
apr 2019The Israeli Elections Radical Otherness
mrt 2019Faith and Freedom The Passover Haggadah of Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Berkovits
mrt 2019Thoughts to Reject Purim
mrt 2019My Hardship with Honest Teaching And Its Privilege
mrt 2019My Controversy with the Mainstream Orthodox Community – Part 2
mrt 2019My Controversy with the Mainstream Orthodox Community – Part 1
feb 2019My Fascination with the Chaotic World of the Talmud Ten Questions for Rabbi Lopes Cardozo
feb 2019The Kotzker, Spinoza and I Ten Questions for Rabbi Cardozo
feb 2019The Sanctity of Shabbat Yes to the Ayalon Bridge, No to the Eurovision Song Contest
feb 2019My Search for and Momentary Loss of God
jan 2019Why I (Refuse to) Pray Ten Questions for Rabbi Cardozo
jan 2019Torah Reaches Beyond the Boundaries of Strict Halacha
dec 2018An interview with Rabbi Cardozo: Taking issue
dec 2018Parashat Miketz The Pain of Being a Tzaddik
nov 2018Parashat Vayeshev Divine Emanations, Chanuka and the Future of the State of Israel
nov 2018Parashat Vayishlach Amalek, Jewish Injustice, Converts and a Warning to the Chief Rabbinate
nov 2018Parashat Vayetze Be Fearful of Religion (1)
nov 2018Parashat Toldot Admitting A Mistake: Even God Does
nov 2018Pittsburgh - In Memory of Its Victims Faith, Death and Frontal Encounter (A Short Insight while on the ...
okt 2018The Curse of Religious Boredom
okt 2018Parashat Noach
okt 2018Introduction to Torah Torah: The Unavoidable and Disturbing Text
sep 2018Simchat Torah: The Unapproachable Text
sep 2018Simchat Torah Technology and the Outdated Torah Scroll
sep 2018Rosh HaShana: Fairy Tales and Humor
aug 2018Rosh HaShanah: What Really Counts
aug 2018The Joy of Saying: I am Sorry The Portuguese Spanish Selichot
aug 2018Parashat Shoftim Surround Yourself with Cleanliness
aug 2018Achieving Unity While Remaining Divided
jul 2018Tish'a B'Av – The Ninth of Av Who Needs the Temple?
jul 2018The Controversy Surrounding My Louis Jacobs Memorial Lecture
jun 2018Scandalous Halachic Decisions Ethiopians and Wine
jun 2018Parashat Chukat The Curse of Religious Coercion
jun 2018Conversion An Open Letter to Israel’s Chief Rabbis
jun 2018Parashat Behaalotecha Theocracy, Democracy, and Halacha *
mei 2018Why a Second Day Yom Tov? The Incomparable Greatness of the Land of Israel
mei 2018Atheism: Belief in the Unbelievable I have tried to be an atheist, but skepticism always got in the way
mei 2018Parshat Bechukotai To Have or to Be, That Is the Question
mei 2018Sefirat HaOmer The Secret to Human and Rabbinical Autonomy
apr 2018The Tragedy and the Challenge A Forgotten Mission
apr 2018Seventy Years of an Unyielding 3,330-Year Marriage Yom Ha'atzmaut
apr 2018Yom HaShoa – Jewish Life or Just Israeli Life? Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai or A.B. Yehoshua?
mrt 2018The Great Mystery: Why Karpas?
mrt 2018Plato’s Haggada in the “Dialogues”
mrt 2018An Open Letter to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the Charedi Leadership
mrt 2018Collapsed Halacha and Moshe’s Mask
mrt 2018Megillat Esther and the Nervous-Syndrome Chess Game
feb 2018Conversion and the Birth of Amalek A Warning to the Chief Rabbinate
feb 2018Finding One's Neshome (1) Franz Rosenzweig and the Berliner Shtiebel
feb 2018The Enduring Preciousness of the Secular Jew *
feb 2018The Challenge of Yitro Would Yóu Convert?
jan 2018Parshat BeShalach Jewish Self Delusion
jan 2018Circumcision: Why Risk Your Child's Well-Being? A Call to All Israelis.
jan 2018Moses The Successful Failure
jan 2018Jesus, a Warning to Our Rabbis
dec 2017Halacha Means Full Liberty To Be Secular Would Be Hell: Everything Would Be Forbidden
dec 2017Soul Jews and Halachic Jews
dec 2017Codifying Jewish Law is Not Authentic
dec 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion
nov 2017Be Fearful of Religion Parashat VaYetze
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu Lectures and the Academy
okt 2017The Wonder of Judaism The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
okt 2017Freud’s Subconscious Discovery of God
okt 2017Afterthoughts on Simchat Torah: The Unbending Sefer Torah
okt 2017Sukkot Is a State of Mind Nakedness and a Desert Full of Snakes
okt 2017Afterthoughts on Yom Kippur Ultimate Love and the Danger of Religious Exhaustion*
sep 2017An Open Letter to My Synagogue The Curse of Indifference
sep 2017Embryonic Judaism The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
sep 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu Tentative Thoughts Toward a Jewish Religious Renaissance
aug 2017The Turmoil in the USA
aug 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion (2)
aug 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion
jul 2017In Defense of Rabbi Dweck and Orthodox Judaism An Open Letter to Rabbi S. F. Zimmerman, Rav of Gateshead, ...
jun 2017The Waters of Strife The Devastation of Religious Coercion Parshat Chukat
jun 2017A Modern Day Inquisition Rabbi Joseph Dweck The Tragic Story of Rabbinical Small-mindedness
jun 2017Speaking Lashon Hara about the World
jun 2017The Holocaust: Divine Retribution?
mei 2017The Desert and the Wandering Divine Word
mei 2017The Ban on Circumcision Blatant Anti-Semitism and Ignorance
mei 2017Kohanim: The Challenge of Educational Dissent
mei 2017Are We Really Living at the Dawn of the Redemption? Afterthoughts on Yom Ha’atzmaut
apr 2017Boredom and the Immature Elderly
apr 2017Pesach: God’s Sporadic Presence and Overwhelming Absence in Human History
mrt 2017Parshat Vayikra The Trouble with Sacrifices Why Spinoza’s Ethics Were Not Given at Sinai
mrt 2017Johann Sebastian Bach and the Tent of Meeting
mrt 2017An open letter to Rabbi Cardozo in response to his article on Rav Soloveitchik Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik ...
mrt 2017Purim and the Challenge of the Holocaust
mrt 2017Thoughts to reject For the Early Connoisseur Purim
feb 2017Sinai Now!
feb 2017Parashat Yitro Racism and the Wisdom of a Gentile
feb 2017The Genius and Limitations of Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik z”l
feb 2017The Chief Rabbinate and Its Disgrace Who Is an Exceptionally Great Sage?
jan 2017The Unknowable, Loving and Aggravating God “I am as I shall be” (*Shemot* 3:14)
jan 2017Rabbinical Tyranny and Freedom of Thought
jan 2017Calling for Religious Unity Only Leads to Division The Need for Personal Conscience
jan 2017Syria and the Scandal of our (Orthodox) Synagogues
dec 2016Divine Emanations, Cause and Effect, and Chanukah
dec 2016God is not a “what,” nor a “when”, and not even a “who” God and the Fires
dec 2016God and The Fires “Because of Our Sins, This Has Befallen Us?”
dec 2016The Purpose of Sefer Bereishit The Abuse of Halacha: Keeping Halacha under Control Part 2
nov 2016The Abuse of Halacha: Keeping Halacha Under Control Part 1
nov 2016Walking Mountains, Shabbat and the Buddha
nov 2016The Curse of Religious Boredom
nov 2016Torah: The Unavoidable and Disturbing Text
okt 2016Torah from Heaven The Deliberately Flawed Divine Torah The Theology of the Halachic Loophole
okt 2016Approaching Tragedy with Joy
okt 2016Yom Kippur: Who is Able to Eat?
sep 2016Do We Dare to Blow the Shofar?
sep 2016Against Indifference Prayer for the World
sep 2016God Does Not Exist So Let Us Serve Him! For Poets, Musicians, Artists and Deep Souls
sep 2016For Poets, Musicians, Artists and Deep Souls The Hopelessness of Dogma and the Beauty of faith
sep 2016Let Us Violate Shabbat So As To Sanctify It The Holy Day and the Tel Aviv Railway
aug 2016Wanted: Rabbis with Knives between Their Teeth The Need for a Genuine Upheaval
aug 2016A Slap in the Face to the Holy One Blessed Be He?
aug 2016Rabbinic Despair and Simple Courage
aug 2016The Chaos Theory of Halacha
jul 2016How the Mighty Have Fallen On Joy and Jealousy
jul 2016Faith is the Joy of Religious Doubt and Uncertainty
jun 2016The Kotel Have We Gone Mad? A Call to All Denominations and Other “Holy” Warriors
jun 2016Israel, the American Elections and the Turmoil in Our World A Parable
jun 2016Shavuot Would You Convert? Like Yitro?
jun 2016Orthodox Rabbi Teaching Halakha Beyond the Shulkhan Arukh, Judaism Beyond the Commandments
mei 2016Parshat Bechukotai The Miracle of Satisfaction
mei 2016Sefirat HaOmer: What Really Counts
mei 2016An Unyielding Marriage of 3500+ Years Yom Ha’atzmauth
mei 2016Yom Hashoa The Quest for Authenticity Rembrandt and the Holocaust
apr 2016Blessed Are Those Who Eat Chametz!
apr 2016Plato’s Advice: Do Not Read The Haggada!
apr 2016The True Art of Sport: Game or Torture?
apr 2016Are You Really Eating Kosher? On Camouflage, Hypocrisy and Hiding behind the Kashrut Laws
mrt 2016The Making of an Enemy The Birth of Amalek
mrt 2016Purim, God’s Hidden Face, and the Advantage of a Permanent Job
mrt 2016The Hazard of Fluency
mrt 2016Rabbinical Courage and the Frozen Text
feb 2016Have Some Pity on the Anti-Semite!
feb 2016Shut Down the Kotel!
feb 2016A Remorseless Judaism
feb 2016Milk and Meat: The Dangerous Mixture
jan 2016Halacha as the Art of Playing Chess Divine Insanity
jan 2016Am I Still Orthodox? Answer to a Jerusalem Rabbi
jan 2016The Desecration of Halacha
jan 2016The Threat of Freedom
dec 2015Amsterdam Spinoza Symposium It Is Time to Lift the Ban
dec 2015Arguing Against Oneself: Joseph’s Self-Revenge
dec 2015Needed: Redemptive Halakha How Halakha Must Transcend Itself
dec 2015Chanukah: Hypocrisy or Authenticity
nov 2015A Prophetic View: The Gentile Aliyah Epidemic
nov 2015Oh, that I Could Take Off My Kippah!
nov 2015Admitting A Mistake: Even God Does
nov 2015 How Old Would You Be If You Did Not Know How Old You Are?
okt 2015The Religious Scandal of Akeidat Yitzchak and the Tragic God
okt 2015Israel: The Blessing of Insecurity
okt 2015God, Where are You? An open letter
okt 2015Simchat Torah: Rush or Stagnation
sep 2015The Trouble with Kal Nidrei We Are All Marranos
sep 2015Rosh Hashana Is Judaism Your Supreme Passion? (1)
sep 2015Courage, Rabbis, Courage! The Need For Mass Conversion
aug 2015Conversion and Annie Fischer’s Interpretation of Schumann’s Klavierkonzert in A Minor
aug 2015Conversion Is Not About Halacha
aug 2015The Immortal Highway
aug 2015Marriage: The Courage to Say ‘Li’
jul 2015Torah: Hearing the Divine Voice at Sinai Now
jul 2015The Temple Is of Little Importance, It Is the Eye of the Needle That Counts
jul 2015The Supreme Court of the United States, Same-Sex Marriage and Other Prohibitions
jul 2015Faith Means Joyful Uncertainty
jun 2015Religion is Dangerous; Plato, Halacha and Dreams
jun 2015The Dangling Bridges of Halacha Making rules where rules should not exist
jun 2015Bold Ideas: Take the Bike or Tram, Get a Free Coffee, and Observe Shabbat! (1)
jun 2015Halacha: The Disturbing Search for God
mei 2015Make Anti-Semitism a Source of Jewish Pride
mei 2015Shavuot, The Wonder and Glow of God’s Word
jul 2014De paradox van ‘Wie is een Jood’
mei 2014Joden, Sisyphus en Sport – (Met enige ironie!)
mei 2014God is aan het verhuizen
apr 2014Seideravond: karpas en de veelkleurige mantel
feb 2014Groots denken omtrent het jodendom
dec 2013The Abuse of Halacha
nov 2013Limmoed en het orthodoxe fiasco