THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 192
Chapter 6: Jewish Power: Is It Good for Jews?
 
 
Prev Page   Page Guide   Next Page
192 The Story of the Jewish Defense League

bbail from the pulpit. The rabbi, Abraham Sharfman, a typi- bcal long-active leader in the usual respectable circles, re- bfused, and the president, a wretched little man, agreed with bhim, saying that “we have a bar mitzvah today and we do not bwant to mar the happy occasion.” Since three young Jews bhad been sitting unhappily in prison for three days without bkosher food while the fat respectables of Flatbush had eaten btheir Sabbath meals in comfort, I seized the platform any- bway, and a fight broke out in the synagogue. It was shame- bful, but the shame was strictly that of a synagogue defiled by ba rabbi, president, and congregation that had long since bforgotten what being Jewish means even as they self- brighteously called themselves “religious Jews.”

bThe lack of kosher food was yet another scandal and btypical of the do-nothing-and-care-less Jewish Establish- bment. In New York, as in most centers of Jewish population, bthere exists a group calling itself The Board of Rabbis. bRepresenting, it claims, a thousand Reform, Conservative, band Orthodox rabbis—although the major Orthodox schol- bars and deans have long bitterly condemned the group and bcalled upon its Orthodox members to withdraw—it draws its bsupport from the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and bhas a comfortable building on the Upper East Side of Man- bhattan. What it does is a mystery to most, but not to us. We bknow it does nothing. Speaking about it once, I told my baudience:

b“A Lithuanian Jew, philosophically opposed to Hassidism band the concept of a ‘rebbe’ who can bless the people and bpray for their good fortune, once showed up at a Hassidic brebbe’s house. Ushered into the study, he sat down and bplaced a ruble note on the table in the manner of those bseeking a blessing. The rebbe took it. ‘Is there anything you bspecifically want?’ asked the rebbe. ‘Is someone sick?’ ‘No, bthank G-d,’ replied the Lithuanian, ‘everyone is fine.’ And bwith that he took out another ruble and placed it on the btable.

b“The rebbe placed this in his pocket, too, and again asked: b‘Do you want a blessing so that business will be better?’

Prev Page   Page Guide   Next Page
 
 
THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 192
Chapter 6: Jewish Power: Is It Good for Jews?