Teaneck, NJ - Orthodox Shul Takes Rabbi To Task For Bashing Obama
Teaneck, NJ - Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey is home to some two thousand Modern Orthodox Jewish members. At its religious helm is Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, known for his right-wing opinions and his ability to seek out and stir up controversy, including referring to the Rabin administration as the โthe Rabin Judenratโ.
Haaretz reports (http://bit.ly/T5WkJN) that Rabbi Pruzansky has once more raised the ire of many of his congregants with his blog post entitled โThe Decline and Fall of the American Empireโ, wherein he vilifies the โaffirmative action presidentโ and the presidentโs supporters following Mr. Obamaโs re-election โnightmareโ.
In his post, Rabbi Pruzansky wrote, โOne might reasonably object that not every Obama supporter could be unintelligent. But they must then rationally explain how the agenda can be paid for, aside from racking up multi-trillion dollar deficits.โ
He also spoke derisively about the immigrant community, attributing Mr. Obamaโs win to those โprimarily from the Third Worldโ who โdo not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries.โ Rabbi Pruzansky noted that, โIt is a different world, and a different America. Obama is part of that different America, knows it, and knows how to tap into it.โ
In response to Rabbi Pruzanskyโs post, the synagogueโs executive board has circulated a petition among its membership to call the โrabbi to order.โ Bnai Yeshurun members said that while they appreciate that the rabbi is entitled to free speech, they feel strongly that his blog โinsults and denigratesโ community members. In fact, they say, the rabbiโs fanaticism has โdriven away many members of his congregation over the yearsโ and has led to the establishment of at least seven other synagogues in Teaneck โ many of which are filled with the rabbiโs critics, including ADL National Director Abraham Foxman.
Rabbi Pruzansky was apparently unfazed by his congregationโs concerns. In an e-mail he replied, โUnfortunately, you are making a mountain out what is not even a molehill. A handful of members took personally what was a generic statement, in line with today’s American cultural norm of taking offense easily, repeatedly and quickly. In a shul of 2,000 people, this type of disagreement is not really uncommon. In fact, I’m surprised it is not more common. But I respect their right of free speech and am not in the least disturbed by their letter.โ
In addition to his position as a shul rabbi, Rabbi Pruzansky serves as a trustee of the Rabbinical Council of America and on the board of the Beth Din of America where he also acts as a judge.
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