Netherlands – Suspension of Amsterdam’s Rabbi is ‘Verging on Fascism’, Say Orthodox Leaders

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    Chief rabbi at the airport, in April 2011. Ralbag is the second from the right.Netherlands – The decision by Amsterdam’s orthodox Jewish community to suspend its chief rabbi because of his controversial beliefs about homosexuality is ‘verging on fascism’, a committee of orthodox Jews in the US has told the Volkskrant.

    The Committee for the Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality told the paper in an email it is ‘shocking’ that a chief rabbi in the Netherlands has been suspended for his statements on ‘centuries-old religious truths’.

    Amsterdam’s orthodox Jewish community (NIHS) suspended rabbi Aryeh Ralbag as its nominal chief last week after the New York-based official signed a statement describing homosexuality as an illness which can be cured.

    New Jersey rabbi Steven Pruzansky, who is mobilising intenational support for Ralbag, blames Dutch tolerance for the situation, the paper says.

    ‘Dutch society is so tolerant, with legal and open prostitution and a sharp reduction in faithfulness in marriage, that it is impossible for Jews who grow up in such surroundings to embrace the moral message of the Torah,’ the Volkskrant quoted him as saying. ‘They are in spiritual shock.’

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    24 COMMENTS

    1. A group decides their (absent) rabbi doesn’t represent its members’ views. So it decides to replace him with someone who does. That’s not fascism. It’s a reason for these learned rabbis to go back to a real school and study some actual history so they can use the word correctly.

        • Totally agree. As long as you define truth in Ralbag’s terms, which are the “you pay me, I pasken your way” truth.

          And don’t even bother with your whiny replies, I know for a fact what 30 grand and 2 first class tickets from Israel can get a certain kohen in Monsey who wanted to marry a gerusha and was more than happy to pay to play.

      • Dear “Anon Ibid Opcit”, The point of a Rabbi is to tell the community he is leading the difference between right and wrong. If the Community would like to make its own laws and not abide by the Torah or a Rabbi then why hire a rabbi at all?

        Fyi… I don’t think it is the Rabbis who as you say need to “go back to a real school and study some actual history”. Before criticizing these Rabbis I think you should brush up on some history yourself. You can start with the best history book of them all. It’s called the Torah.

    2. From what a friend in Amsterdam tells me, the community hired Rabbi Ralbag because they expected he’d say nothing and do nothing. They like to live their own lives free of rabbinical interference, and they figured that with Rabbi Ralbag’s record on gerus and kashrus, plus the fact he wouldn’t be in Amsterdam too often, he’d let them do what they want. Obviously, that wasn’t enough.

    3. The Rabbi is entitled to his beliefs, and the community is entitled to fire him. Yes, its sad that a Orthodox Jewish community doesn’t let a Rabbi express his torah views, but he must realize the reality of a Rabbi’s job in the Netherlands in 2012. He should’ve publicly resigned as a statement. Making this a public fight won’t change anything and will just make Ralbag look immature. He’s really just hoping to get his salary for this no-show job. As Rabbi he did nothing for this community. Had he spent more time he could’ve known what the reaction would be.

    4. Rabbi Ralbag is a towering scholar. He is literally the world expert on Heter Meah Rabbonim. I would not necessarily agree with him that Homosexuality can be cured. Nevertheless, in accordance with the explicit statement in the Torah, it must be condemmed.

      • I spoke to rabbi Lieberman once and found him to be a brilliant man. He comes from a family of geniuses. I believe he has a brother that the brisker rov said would be the next gadol hador and was considered the biggest illui in eretz yisroel when he was a bachur. I wonder what happened to him.

    5. My 2 cents …

      I understand the strong disagreement with him signing this letter,
      I understand that many people see those views as total ignorance,
      I understand the pain & the feeling of disconnect that his views evokes in many people…
      However; I think they should have not make this view of his, the official reason to let him go. Especially -as mentioned in this article- in a country that’s so known for “tolerance”. Let “tolerance” work both ways.

      But; it is what it is. right? I’m glad I wasn’t asked

    6. Any Rabbi who’s community does not want to get rid of him is no Rabbi and any Rabbi that let’s them get rid of him is no man. He speaks the truth. They will reap what they sow which will lead to destruction of the community. We must and not if we like; live by Torah law. We are not talking chumra we are talking basic law

      • We are not talking halocha here. Everybody knows the Toire forbids it. But it is hashkofah as to how you will treat these people and those are two different pairs of shoes.

    7. When Hebrew National needed a “Rabbi ” to say thier products are “Kosher” they hired Ralbag.
      When Chaim Sieger needed a Heter Mea Rabbonim instead of a Get he paid Ralbag.
      When anybody needs “Hire a Heter” or “rent A rabbi ” they call Ralbag.
      The Amsterdam community pays Ralbag to do nothing (which some might say is a good thing) so when he does something, he got fired.

    8. Wait…. can someone explain to me where the opinion that homosexuality is an “illness that can be cured” can be found? Assur, of course. But an “illness”? That is ridiculous. Do we then say that someone who commits homosexual acts isn’t responsible because they are “ill”?

      This is the problem with foolish, irresponsible “statements”. It is absolutely OK to state the halacha. However, adding your own embellishments like calling it an “illness” is both irresponsible, inflammatory and untrue. That’s how we lose these arguments and that’s why kiruv gets harder and harder. H” gave us a perfect Torah. There is no reason to try and “improve” on it. It only gets us in trouble.

    9. Before you all run your mouths with rumors and slander, find out how many gittin he has been mesader and which rabbonim refer to him.

      You might be surprised to learn how big an expert he is considered in hilchos gerushin by many well known rabbonim.

      But I am sure no one in Monsey would ever buy chicken under his hashgochah. Better to rely on a big talmid chochom like Finkel’s rav hamachshir.

    10. This whole issue is ridiculous. The Torah forbade the act. Period. I see no basis for a rabbi to sign a statement for a cause for homosexuality. The cause is something for medical science to figure out not rabbis. This is especially the case if when making a such a statement that has no basis in Torah will push people from the guy community away from Torah instead of bringing them closer. As such one has to conclude that their motives for signing such a statement comes from their own phobeo and not Torah.

    11. Rabboisie, The loshon hora is way out of control here. People are commenting on R’ Ralbag and they never even spoke two words to him. Its all heresay. please control yourselves.

    12. Just for all your people who know it all so well. Rabbi ralbag does NOT get paid a penny from the community, other than his title and “Kovod” he is deriving from this job.
      yes the community in Amsterdam is one of the only kehillah’s in Europe where the Frum and the Frei remained under one Kehillah, since there were not enough Jews left after the war for two kehillos R'”L. the result is clear, the influance of secularism is tremendous, and the true Daas Torah is not being presented. this is partial oalso the fault of being a Cheif Rabbi for the sole sake of Kovod. The Eruv which Rabbi Ralbag implumented in Amsterdam, is not recognised by any auhtority in the world, and although he might claim to have back up (and maybe rightfully so) it is still unacceotable to go against the Psak from the Chief Rabbi Hagaon Harav Just ZT”L, who was forcely against it.
      at this moment the true Toirah observant Jews in Amsterdam are distancing themeselves from the local kehillah and are in the middle of setting up their own kehillah in which they have Harav Padva as their rav, they are in the middle of building a Mikva, and will clearly go on their own path.
      the only obstacle will be the Bais Hakevoros

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