Muffti doesn’t endorse this kind of thing, but at least Rabbi Lazar is honest.
Rabbi Berel Lazar is one of Russia’s two chief Rabbis and high profile Chabadnick. In Chabad’s Russian publication, he wrote:
â€˜Reform Judaism’ cannot be seriously called a religion! â€˜Reformed Judaism’ is just a code of rules created by the people for their own worldly comfort. There is no God there.
Tough words, Rabbi. He also called Reform Judaism an ‘interest club’ and deriding their rabbis as mere ‘heads of a club’.
club president Rabbi Eric Yofee of the Union for Reform Judaism responded by saying:
Rabbi Lazar cannot request American Jewish support for his work and profess to speak in the name of all Russian Jews while simultaneously proclaiming that Reform Judaism is not Judaism and Reform rabbis are not rabbis.
Of course, given what Lazar has to say, its difficult to believe that he would care about Reform support for his work.
Some blamed Lazar’s comments on a fear of a growing reform movement in Russia. Others were more quick to blame Chabad’s general attitude towards reform Judaism.
Club president Rabbi Uri Regev, Executive Director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (OK, that does sound like a club) said:
It’s regrettable that Chabad â€” which professes to connect all Jews as they are â€” so easily returns to its old, hateful bashing of Reform Judaism.
Oh well. Good to know that pluralism is still impossible, except perhaps on Jewlicious. Or at the TEJ.
Thanks to JTA for the story.