Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Adar 5761 - March 7, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Rabbonim Denounce Plan to Publish "Rabbinical Order" for Reconciliation With Church
by Arnon Yaffe, Paris

The Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg, Renee Guttman, has announced that he will publish "a declaration by the French Rabbinate" denouncing the abrogation of Christianity and any criticism of its actions throughout the years. The declaration calls upon Jews to learn "ethics" from Christianity and Islam.

The French Rabbinate has said that this is a private initiative on the part of Rabbi Guttman and Rabbi Charles Twito, former president of the Consistoire Viewpoint Committee at a time when that body was far removed from any trace of Torah outlook.

Chief Rabbi of Paris, HaRav David Mashash, said: "Their declaration in no way expresses the position of contemporary French Jewry." Others added: "It is a mere prank, arousing antisemitism and harming the Jewish community."

Rabbis Guttman and Twito revived a document drafted thirty years ago by a Jewish philosopher who was close to Christianity and a professor of Biblical criticism. Rabbi Meir Jayis, Chief Rabbi of Paris at the time, along with HaRav Yaakov Kaplan, who was serving as Chief Rabbi of France, declared the document posul and refused to publish it.

When the abovementioned declaration was presented at a meeting of Consistoire rabbis in 1968, it was opposed by a majority of rabbis, and the declaration was invalidated. However, Rabbi Charles Twito kept a copy.

Last week, Rabbi Guttman presented it to the La Monde newspaper as a scoop. He accused the Rabbinate of invalidating the document, adding that Rabbi Twito told him to publish this "historic declaration" in response to a request for forgiveness issued by the French church. Now Rabbi Guttman wants to exploit his status as the Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace, which was once one of Europe's Jewish centers in the Middle Ages and the seat of Parliament.

In the Middle Ages, the Jews were forced to participate in debates with Christian priests, resulting in persecution and expulsion. Today, the church has lost its status and has no recourse to force. The French have abandoned the church as part of their social secularization process.

But the pressures on the Jews are expressed in other ways. The media doesn't stop harping on what it calls "the Jewish question." It incessantly devotes special supplements to the Jews: preservation of their identity, their relationships with Israel and their return to religion, claiming that these trends conflict with their lives as Frenchmen in France.

Two weeks ago, a large photograph in L'Express displayed a Jew wrapped in tefillin reciting shacharis in a synagogue. The picture was apparently meant to stress the Jew's so-called "peculiarity." The magazine itself spoke about the influence of Palestinian violence on the security and lives of French Jewry.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.