In his "campaign," this Lau promised to be a unifying force, a "progressive figure."
And, when in December, Israel's Minister of the Diaspora, Naftali Bennett, visited a Solomon Schechter School in New York City where he found enthusiastic support for Israel and the children's Judaism there, Rabbi David Baruch Lau condemned him:
“To speak deliberately with a specific community and to recognize it and its path, when this path distances Jews from the path of the Jewish people, this is forbidden,” continued Lau. “If Minister Bennett would have asked my opinion before the visit I would have said to him explicitly, “You cannot go somewhere where the education distances Jews from tradition, from the past, and from the future of the Jewish people.”http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=436785Shameful, and not the first time for this "progressive figure," this "unifying force." Shortly after his 2013 election, this Chief Rabbi called those he found less than "pure," kushim, a derogatory term for Black people.
To its credit, JFNA promptly and publicly objected to Lau's attack on Minister Bennett and his visit to a Conservative school:
"Israel's Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau was wrong to criticize Minister Naftali Bennett for the minister's visit to a Solomon Schechter community day school in Manhattan. As the minister who covers both the education and Diaspora portfolios, Mr. Bennett serves a unique role in representing the Israeli government and must continue to reach out to all Jews wherever they are -- including at religious schools, day schools and camps affiliated with all of the streams of Judaism. By connecting and learning about Jewish educational experiences in the Diaspora, Mr. Bennett is doing exactly what is appropriate. There should not be suggestions that the Minister of Diaspora Affairs needs to ask for permission to experience Jewish education moments while traveling. In fact, Mr. Bennett should be recognized for his leadership with these efforts, not criticized."Not exactly a condemnation but, for JFNA, certainly, a strong statement. JFNA Board Chair spoke more strongly in his transmittal of the statement to the Board:
"I was puzzled and chagrined to read of Chief Rabbi Lau’s recent comments regarding Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit to a Solomon Schechter school while in the United States. This kind of dialogue is an unfortunate example of how we build barriers within our own community. Instead, I urge us to seek opportunities to work together with an eye toward engaging our young people and ensuring our future as a people, according to Jewish values."
Apparently someone at JFNA was convinced that there would be something to be gained by having Smilin" Jerry provide interviews (a "personal" statement) and further exposure of the matter on the House Voice FedWorld in successive "issues." An Anonymous Commentator, I'm guessing from 25 Broadway itself had just told us that this was no issue at all because of Lau's earlier visit without controversy to a Schechter School himself. Who knew?