Excluding Jews from Synagogue

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


Beth Tzedek


    This morning we received an “e” mail sent by Rabbi Shalman entitled “…current writings and musings.” This concluded with a horrifying quotation from a resolution by the board of our congregation, Beth Zedek, to the effect that another Jew, Charles Shalman, be treated like a pariah and that members “refrain from engaging in conduct that would welcome or otherwise encourage Rabbi Shalman to attend services.”

    Such a resolution presumes that those who drafted it are so pure and angelic that they are entitled to sit in judgment on other Jews and are also entitled to decide who may pray with us and who is not fit to do so. Such a rule invites innumerable other members to “excommunicate” yet others of whom they do not approve.

   For example, a board member and officer of our congregations not only designated us by a “four letter word” but also shouted that my presence and that of my family “desecrated this synagogue”. We were also told by this prominent “capo di tutti capi” that we had desecrated “Kristallnacht”, the night of November 9-10, 1938 when we witnessed the destruction and dynamiting of every synagogue in Germany, the murder of Jews in the streets and other horrors too vile to recite here. The person who made this claim was not there and yet has been authorized to insult Holocaust survivors. Yet, this name caller is a board member and president of the sisterhood.

   Should this individual also be ejected from Beth Tzedek?

   Surely, once we eject one another, no one will be left. Numerous members believe they have reason to dislike other members. Who then decides who may stay and who is tossed out? Is there a “beth hamidrash” anywhere which is devoted to excluding Jews from prayer there?

   The effort to exclude Rabbi Shalman has been instigated by a minuscule cadre of self-appointed elitists. They and their insidious sycophants have seized the congregation so as to promote a self-perpetuating oligarchy.  This therefore leads to  an alternative status system within our congregation, thereby depriving us of the benefits which a Jewish “beth el” ought to provide.

    The resolution by the board exhibits a vindictiveness utterly at odds with Jewish principles. Furthermore, such a resolution, however deviant, should also include the other party which provoked  the complaints against Rabbi Shalman, although all such resolutions are indeed a negation of our tradition and offensive to God.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Fraud (2007).

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