New York – Advisory Warns Synagogue To Carefully Vet Speakers, Criticizes International Lecturer For Provocative Remarks

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    New York – Two days before an extremely popular but highly controversial rabbi is due to spend a weekend lecturing in California, a letter signed by a group of 16 rabbis from four different countries warns Jewish institutions to use discretion when inviting speakers to their premises.

    The advisory singles out Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, charging him with having made “misleading” remarks that, even when made with positive intentions, are both “objectionable” and “dangerous.” According to Haaretz , the letter was sent to the leadership at Yeshivas Ner Aryeh, the site of an event this weekend that will feature Rabbi Mizrachi as a speaker.

    While Rabbi Mizrachi, who has lectured all over the globe in an effort to raise awareness among secular Jews, has thousands of loyal followers on social media, he is not without detractors.

    As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2h8h45g), more than 800 people signed a petition of protest after learning that Rabbi Mizrachi planned to visit the United Kingdom last winter. The petition alleged that Rabbi Mizrachi has stated that conditions including autism, Down syndrome, blindness and several forms of cancer appear as punishment for improper actions committed either during this life or a previous one.

    The letter took issue with statements of that nature by Rabbi Mizrachi, noting that they “reduce complex issues to simplistic and misleading sound bites,” which do “no justice to the Jewish mesorah” and accuse him of presenting “subtle statements of Chazal in superficial and deceptive ways.”

    “Jewish institutions must be discerning about the credentials and 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.”

    Among those who signed the advisory were Rabbi Gedalia Schwartz, head of the Beis Din of America and the Chicago Rabbinical Council, Rabbi Mayer Alter Horowitz, Bostoner Rebbe of Jerusalem , Rabbi Michel Twerski of Congregation Beth Jehuda in Milwaukee, Rabbi Shalom Baum, president of the Rabbinical Council of America and Rabbi Daniel Feldman, rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.

    Rabbi Avi Shafran, a media liaison for Agudath Israel of America who also signed the letter, noted that all 16 rabbis who affixed their name to the advisory did so as individuals and not as representatives of any congregation, institution or organization.

    “It was just felt by many, among them the signatories, that some sort of warning had to be offered to unsuspecting people who engaged him as a speaker,” Rabbi Shafran told VIN News. “There is no personal animus here, chas v’sholom. I do not know the rabbi, and don’t think the other signatories do either. But we have read and listened to some of his speeches, and that convinced us that there was a need to issue a warning.”

    Rabbi Shafran said that a letter was sent to Rabbi Mizrachi in an attempt to engage him in dialogue before this advisory was published, but in a phone interview with VIN News, Rabbi Mizrachi said that he never saw that letter.

    The advisory contains nothing new, according to Rabbi Mizrachi, and is the work of those who have long tried to discredit him.

    “It is the same group of people who have been fighting me for four or five years,” said Rabbi Mizrachi. “It is the same exact thing, every time before a big trip or a big success. Three of those that fight me are on the letter.”

    Rabbi Mizrachi said he was not acquainted with any of the other rabbis whose signature appear on the advisory and that his upcoming appearance had no connection to Yeshivas Ner Aryeh.

    “I don’t know who these rabbis are,” said Rabbi Mizrachi. “It’s very interesting. It is like someone who makes $10 an hour giving advice to Bill Gates on how make money. I make more than 10,000 baalei teshuva a year. These rabbis never make one baal teshuva and they want to teach me how to make baalei teshuva? It is absurd.”

    Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of the Boca Raton Synagogue whose name also appears on the advisory noted that the fact that Rabbi Mizrachi has a large following does not justify making provocative statements in the name of inspiring unaffiliated Jews.

    “Being popular and having a positive impact on some, or even many, doesn’t justify misrepresentations of our mesorah and claiming to be the representative of the Almighty and explain his ways,” said Rabbi Goldberg. “It is out of character for this group of rabbis to make such a statement, but we felt our silence makes us complicit to some of the negative consequences of those alienated, disturbed and offended by his approach.”

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    33 COMMENTS

    1. I am no fan of Mizrachi at all. That being said, these Rabbis just found an easy target with Mizrachi the clown. Is this the only world Jewish problem they can get together and take action on????? is there no other bigger problems that can benefit from before this stupidity that at the end of the day is bringing the awareness of Torah true values to more people??? What a shame.

      • And when Rabbis don’t take a stand against one of their own ,we also complain. This “Rabbi” makes many foolish,callous,dangerous statements;kudos to the Rabanim who stepped up for Torah.

      • Are all these Rabbis retired now? Did they hit the stage, sign this letter, and move to Florida? Or did they spend time on this issue and go back to other issues. So you’re what’s a shame, here. Siyag l’chachma shtika.

    2. 1. these rabbonim probably could’ve written a letter like this about rav avigdor miller zatzal and others
      2. one can find chazal to back up many diff. shitos & styles of talking rav pam spoke differently than rav gifter
      3. there is also a culutral aspect what works for ashkenazim doesnt work for sephardim and what works in williamsburg doesnt cut it with the bucharian yidiin
      4. as an examplae when the russians came to america rav yakov zatz”l wanted each yeshiva to take in a handful of boys and the hashpoh of the class would be mekarev them it took 8 years for there to be a better understanding that ” rooskies” are diff. and need their own style school = beer hagolah

    3. These liberal Rabbis are not interested in the truth. They are embarrassed that someone is saying something that they can’t or won’t say publicly but know the same Rambams Rabbi Mizrachi is quoting.

    4. “Rabbi Mizrachi has stated that conditions including autism, Down syndrome, blindness and several forms of cancer appear as punishment for improper actions committed either during this life or a previous one.”

      And being and idiot is caused by being idiot.

      • And every single one of you holier than thou tzaddikim who just criticized the rabbi (whether he’s wrong or right is irrelevant to my comment) IS GUILTY OF COMMITTING THE TERRIBLE SIN OF LASHON HARA AND MOTZI SHEM RAH! Not one of you is worthy to talk or judge! You just got yourselves an aveira, and you are the ones with the ego, to deem yourselves capable of knowing who’s right and who’s wrong! One is not allowed to disagree with a Rov whether he says its night when it’s day out (for any of you who’ve ever opened a Sefer, you know it’s true.). Now go do Teshuva instead of getting your kicks and aveiros with your sinful comments.

        • If I am “GUILTY OF COMMITTING THE TERRIBLE SIN OF LASHON HARA AND MOTZI SHEM RAH!”, I really could care less. This is not the middle ages. Wake up and step out of your cult.

          • You could care less if you didn’t keep Shabos or tiharas hamishpocho or ate pig, or had realizations with married woman, right? After all these laws were from the “dark” ages as well. Is the Torah fairy tales to you or are you just a regular missionary? When did you start believing in j?

    5. Let’s not forget that Rabbi Mizrachi said the unconscionable: “not even one million Jews died in the Holocuast”! This awful and dangerous proclamation is indicative of his ignorance of Jewish history and our mesorah. His response to this letter is just full of chutzpah. I know that at least one of the above Rabbonim is involved in kiruv. And, where are the tens of thousands of Sefardic baalei teshuva that he is responsible for?! You’d think Mashiach would be here by now. I don’t know why anyone would wish to follow Rabbi Mizrachi or to listen to him speak for hours at a time while making offensive and incorrect comments.

    6. The question was not about the baalei teshuvah that he makes (though his figure of 10,000 does not sound realistic). It was about the chilul Hashem he makes when he puts himself out there as the navi who can explain to us precisely what Hashem’s calculations are. That borders on blasphemous, and coming from a kiruv rabbi, that is a chilul Hashem. The signatories are accurate in calling attention to his offensiveness. He has much good to offer, and he taints it badly with rhetoric that is toxic. Those who oppose him are not engaged in a personal vendetta. They just want the nonsense he spouts to stop. These messages have been presented to him many times, and he has rejected them.

    7. That a so called Rabbi said that only 1 million people died in the holocaust is not a simple problem. Kol hakovod to the Rabbanim finally saying something. By the way someone who can say ” he ” made 10,000 bal teshuvahs a year is someone who borders on kefirah!!! No one makes Bal teshuvahs- we teach them the beauty of torah and they make themselves. Obviously Mizrachi is someone only concerned about his own ego and not the ribono shelolom.

    8. sinat hinam at its best, notice how 99% ashkanazim participated in this authorizing to sign this document, if you dont like what on television change the station.

    9. Mizrahi is not the sharpest tool in our shed. BUT do we ever see such letters condemning a Mesarev LeDin who refuses to give his wife a Get? a publically known adulterer? a tax cheat? a pedophile? Choose your fights more wisely.

    10. I support a stance against Yosef Mizrahi as I have attended several of his shiurim which left me feeling sick and repulsed at the ideas a rabbi can spread in the name of Torah. But I see glaring hypocrisy from Ashkenazi rabbinic leadership and people in the frum world who will criticize Sefardi/Mizrahi rabbis but rarely speak out against Ashkenazi rabbis who teach and believe in just as bad or even worse ideas in the name of Torah.
      Ashkenazi supremacy in yeshiva education and frum society has great influence over Sefardi orthodox culture in Israel and the U.S. Yosef Mizrahi himself is a byproduct of education he received from Ashkenazi rabbis and yeshiva system. If you’re not going to speak out against the entire system that teaches what he believes, then these rabbis are hypocrites.

      • Dear Enlightened-got, once again you have proved your hatred for Torah. Are you a Shomer Shabos? I think not. You really your comments here are to me like that of a worm.

    11. #2, ago many excuses. Even if it’s written in places, anyone with half a brain would know not to bring it up. Like talking about gays. There are plenty of others things to talk about.

    12. If you would know the kind of people, their brutish backgrounds, their level of intelligence, their manners, that attend and get impressed with this person,
      Then youu would understand.
      I’ve llistened to some llectures, it simply boggles the mind

      • “They” who are you to criticize Rabbi Kanevsky? You are an ignoramus compared to him. These rabbis would lose there rabbinical certificates and more if they dared to speak loshen Torah like you . But against Rabbi Mizrachi loshon horah does not apply??? They have no back bone, nor do you.

    13. The Torah, the Bible and the Koran – three great books that believers have twisted beyond recognition. And I can’t imagine a world without barbecued pork sandwiches, Texas style with slaw and pickles. Delicious.

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