I was privileged and humbled to be asked to join a group of rabbis more distinguished than I and spanning the Sephardic, Yeshivish, Hasidic, Kiruv and Centrist Orthodox world to deliver an important message. The signatories are immediately below; and the letter, below that.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein Editor, Cross Currents
Rabbi Shalom Baum President, Rabbinical Council of America
Rabbi Yosef Benarroch Rosh Midrasha, Midreshet Eshel Mara D’atra, Adas Yeshurun Herzliya Synagogue Winnipeg, Canada
Rabbi Moises Benzaquen Mara D’atra, West Coast Torah Center Rosh Hayeshiva, Harkham Gaon Academy Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Joseph Dweck Senior Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Community of the United Kingdom
Rabbi Daniel Feldman Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman Mara D’asra, Congregation Beth Jacob Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Efrem Goldberg Mara D’asra, Boca Raton Synagogue Boca Raton, FL
Rabbi Micah Greenland International Director, NCSY
HaRav Mayer Alter Horowitz, Bostoner Rebbe of Yerushalayim
Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky Rosh Yeshiva, Darche Noam Jerusalem, Israel
Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin Mara D’asra, Congregation Beth Avraham Joseph (BAYT) Toronto, Canada
HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz Rosh Beit Din, Beis Din of America and Chicago Rabbinical Council
Rabbi Avi Shafran Media Liaison, Agudath Israel of America
Rabbi Yitzchak Shurin Rosh Midrasha, Midreshet Rachel V’Chaya
HaRav Michel Twerski Mara D’asra, Congregation Beth Jehudah Milwaukee, WI
The text of the statement:
As rabbonim and mechanchim, we are greatly concerned about the popularity in some circles of a “kiruv” approach that does not bring honor to the Torah ha-Kedoshah but, on the contrary, creates considerable chilul Hashem.
Earlier this year, Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi apologized for one particularly offensive statement he made on several occasions. But he has voiced, both before and since that apology, many things that reduce complex issues to simplistic and misleading sound bites. He has also repeatedly arrogated to “know” why unfortunate things happen to various people and has presented subtle statements of Chazal in superficial and deceptive ways.
That method may entertain and even stimulate some audiences, but it does no justice to the Jewish mesorah. And, especially with the worldwide audience enjoyed by any public speech these days, misleading assertions even when offered with the best of intentions, are particularly objectionable, and even dangerous.
Jewish institutions must be discerning about the credentials and the histories of those to whom they offer the honor of acting as teachers of Torah. We urge all shuls and organizations to act responsibly and take seriously decisions about whom they invite to address their gatherings.